Capital Newspapers is a publishing company based in Madison, Wisconsin and owned equally by Lee Enterprises, parent company of the Wisconsin State Journal, and The Capital Times Company.
The Wisconsin State Journal began in 1839 as an afternoon weekly called The Madison Express. In 1852, The Madison Express went daily, changing its name to the Wisconsin Daily Journal before changing it once again to the current Wisconsin State Journal in 1860. In 1919, the Wisconsin State Journal was purchased by Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises. The Capital Times was founded in 1917 by William T. Evjue, a former Wisconsin State Journal managing editor. Evjue became disillusioned when his newspaper abandoned support for the progressive causes of Senator Robert M. "Fighting Bob" LaFollette - particularly his opposition to World War I - and founded The Capital Times as a direct competitor to the more conservative State Journal. The Capital Times has been the local & progressive voice of Madison ever since.
By 1947, in the interest of consolidating operating costs, executives at the two competing newspapers began discussing the possibility of forming a third corporation that would be owned 50/50 by both newspaper companies. On November 15, 1948, after months of negotiations, Madison Newspapers Inc. was born, with the Wisconsin State Journal agreeing to become the morning and Sunday newspaper and The Capital Times taking the more desirable (at the time) afternoon slot Monday through Saturday. Despite sharing the same building and printing facilities, the two newsrooms operate independently of each other and the newspapers remain spirited rivals to this day. In the mid-1990s, Madison Newspapers joined the Internet revolution with the birth of madison.com. The online embodiment of the city of Madison itself, madison.com features local news, forums, Community Pages and hosts the Web sites of the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times. madison.com has grown into the #1 local Web site in Wisconsin's Capital Region, and one of the leading newspaper Web sites in the entire country.
Capital Newspapers made the first of two major acquisitions in 2000, purchasing Central Wisconsin Newspapers and its host of publications, including the Baraboo News Republic and the Portage Daily Register.
In the spring of 2002, Capital Newspapers purchased Citizen Newspaper Group (a division of Conley Publishing), acquiring the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen and a number of other publications. A new Web site, WiscNews.com, was founded to serve as a portal to the many Madison Newspapers publications located outside the metropolitan Madison area.
The company's most recent change - and one of its most important - took place on April 26, 2008, when The Capital Times published its last daily print edition and became one of the first American daily newspapers to go primarily online. The Capital Times now consists of two separate, interrelated products. The main continuation of The Capital Times is its Web site, captimes.com, which continues the tradition of local, progressive, timely, hard-hitting journalism started by William T. Evjue over 90 years ago. Secondly, a new magazine-style print edition, The Cap Times, features in-depth local news and progressive commentary every Wednesday and is distributed with the Wisconsin State Journal and free via racks around town.
At the present time, Capital Newspapers publishes more than 30 newspapers, shoppers, specialty publications and Web sites blanketing a 17-county market area that is home to more than one million people in South Central Wisconsin. Additionally, Capital Newspapers offers the Wingra Community Press for commercial printing that responds to the needs of publishers, businesses, and institutions' needs for quality printed materials.