Giving Thanks

Thank you, readers!

The Recombobulation Area is a new weekly column by veteran Milwaukee journalist Dan Shafer. Learn more about it here.

Washington Park in Milwaukee. Photo by the author.

The Recombobulation Area has been in business now for four months, and with Thanksgiving coming tomorrow, what better time to send a message of gratitude to you fine folks who are reading and subscribing and making this effort possible. 

So, THANK YOU! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your support means the world. 

I really do hope you’re enjoying the weekly column. When I launched this effort in July, I said this project would be starting small, and growing piece by piece. It was always important, though, for this project to start as a column. Opinions are plentiful in the age of social media, but columns and pieces that spend more time on a given subject, that are written with voice and a point of view, continue to be some of the best and most important work being produced. I am new(ish) at this, and I am making mistakes, but I am learning -- and hopefully improving, and adding something fresh to the daily online conversation we’re all having. And the conversations I’ve enjoyed with many of you and the encouragement you’ve offered is something I truly appreciate. It’s often been sustaining as these words hit the page late into the night (when my daughter inevitably skips a nap on Writing Day) and I’m sending out columns during Movie Friday (#stayathomedadlife). 

So as this effort continues to evolve and develop, I want to hear from you. I want to know what you are thinking about when you read these columns, whether it’s a longer take or just a quick one-word reply. I want to know what you’d want to see more (or less) of in this space. I want to know what you think should be the next steps when the time comes for this to grow. The Recombobulation Area might just have one name on the byline, but it’s far from a solo project. So let’s talk (you can email me at

This is undoubtedly a tough time for the news industry. Local news is continuing to decline (and possibly collapse). The GateHouse-Gannett merger, which became official just weeks ago, gives future of local news media around the country a bleak outlook. We’re already seeing those effects here in Milwaukee, as the fine folks at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are facing yet another round of buyouts. Around the Midwest, the now-GateHouse owned media conglomerate owns newspapers of record in Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Des Moines, and all over Wisconsin. This merger is not going to make the bigger picture situations at any of those crucially important newspapers any better. 

New media outlets are going to have to continue to be created to fill this void. There are many deserving of your support, and I’m so thankful that you’ve chosen to support this one. 

So, enjoy your Thanksgiving! I am thankful for all of you who’ve read, shared, subscribed to and commented on columns here at The Recombobulation Area this year. Let’s keep building.

Thank you for reading The Recombobulation Area and supporting independent journalism.

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Follow Dan on Twitter at @DanRShafer.