What we’re doing with our winter break

It’s time to focus on some long-term planning here at Tone Madison.

It’s time to focus on some long-term planning here at Tone Madison.

Things will be a little quiet at Tone Madison for the next few weeks, but we’re not going anywhere. 

First, we’re taking a few days off  to let people recharge, during what is generally the slowest period of the year for arts and culture in Madison. Media is a stressful, workaholic business. But we’re no good to anyone if we’re burned out—a lesson I have, uh, taught myself many times in this life. Rest is important. As Tone Madison grows, we don’t want it to become the kind of toxic media workplace that runs people into the ground. 


Second, our editorial staff will spend a couple weeks in January just focused on long-term planning, so that we can make the most of our successful year-end fundraising campaign and other exciting opportunities, like our impending transition to a worker-owned cooperative structure. 

We’ll publish some work during this break period, but will not ramp back up to full speed until the week of January 24. We hope to come back rested, refreshed, and fired-up to serve our community with our best work yet.

We want to make sure that things run as well as they can behind the scenes here. We owe it to our journalists to ensure that their work gets every chance it deserves to shine. 

We also owe it to our readers, who make our work possible through their donations, to manage our resources as wisely as possible. The donations and matching funds we’ve secured over the past year give us a lot to work with and a lot of potential to grow. We feel a responsibility to take a step back and make sure we’ve got a good plan for managing that growth.

It’s tough to manage the day-to-day editorial work of a tiny, independent publication while also trying to make decisions about the big picture. The phrase “building the plane while we fly it” comes up a lot. This can be exciting, but it’s also a good recipe for going splat in a cornfield somewhere. We are going to concentrate on just building the plane for a bit, on the ground. 

Let me address a few questions that are sure to come up.

I am a Tone Madison donor. What is happening with my money during this break of yours?

We’ll be saving up our resources so that we can pay more writers, editors, and artists to do their work (and hopefully pay them better rates!) once we get back up to full speed. In short, we’ll continue to put reader donations to the same good use we always have. Our priority will remain paying journalists here in our community. 

I am a freelancer. Can I still pitch Tone Madison during this time?

Yes, we’d love to hear from you. Just be mindful of the time element of your pitch—think about what will be relevant in mid-February or later—and as always, please see our pitch guidelines. We might be a bit slower to respond, but will still be in touch if we are interested in your pitch.

I want to send you info about my band/event/art project. Can I still do that?

Yes, you are welcome to send that info to [email protected]. We will still be helping our friends at Madison Minutes with some event recommendations during our break. Our event coverage will hopefully ramp up a lot more as we head into the spring. As always, it’s best to let us know about an event several weeks in advance, preferably a month or more.  

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