Nov. 6, 2013 – Wisconsin can boast of exceptional public affairs coverage and one web source of particular note is WisconsinEye, which is a nonprofit, public affairs cable network based in Madison. “Watch Who We Are” is its slogan, but the network’s goal is “to serve as an open, independent, and nonpartisan platform for discussion of ideas and action concerning society, culture, and public policy.”
WisconsinEye operates on the principle of “access,” which they specify as “access to ideas, access by all Wisconsin to the public square, and public access to decision makers and others who influence public policy.” While these goals sound lofty, the site offers a pragmatic connection to information that lawyers, civic officials, and policy makers require on a timely and accurate basis.
The mission of WisconsinEye is “to present an independent, statewide view of civic life and public policy discussion, beginning with nonpartisan, gavel-to-gavel coverage of state government in Madison, both on the air and on the Internet.” The C-SPAN-style coverage of state government includes legislative floor sessions of the Wisconsin State Assembly and Wisconsin State Senate, plus committee meetings. Other offerings are of wider state interest such as panels, town halls, and programs about state history. Coverage is available live, both on the cable network as well as through the WisconsinEye website.
WisconsinEye Cameras Perch in Many Places
WisconsinEye truly “watches” not only within the Capitol building but elsewhere with state-of-the-art technology. The network has 70 cameras in the Capitol; their positions span all three branches of government –legislative, executive, and judicial. Robotic cameras cover floor sessions of the state Senate and Assembly and legislative committee hearings, all in their entirety. WisconsinEye’s cameras capture arguments in the Wisconsin Supreme Court and events in the Governor's and Attorney General's conference rooms. Field cameras also cover news conferences and other events in the Capitol.
Besides embedded cameras in and around the rotunda, the network operations center in downtown Madison is equipped with state-of-the-art digital studio facilities to also do video production. Roundtable discussions and interview programs about the many aspects of Wisconsin public life, including Wisconsin books and authors are also a part of regular studio programming.
Keeping up with new content on WisconsinEye is easy and can be done in a host of ways. Watch events via a live stream to the Main Channel or through an archive.
Two other feeds, Channel 1 and Channel 2, offer parallel broadcasts. In addition to the Internet, programming is available on Charter Communications channel 995 and Time Warner 363. Such partnering makes programing available to more than 60 percent of the state’s population. Another means to receive updates is by signing up to receive a daily email with schedule and programming highlights for the WisconsinEye channel and website. The Wheeler Report also mentions coverage by the network in its mailings of the Legislature’s schedule.
For the Legal Professional
Lawyers particularly will appreciate WisconsinEye’s excellent coverage of many topics of interest – most notably Wisconsin Supreme Court oral arguments.
Mary J. Koshollek, Marquette 1993, is the director of Information and Records Services for Godfrey & Kahn, Milwaukee. She is responsible for library operations for all of Godfrey’s offices as well as the records/conflicts/dockets systems. She was a member of the Marquette Law Review and a Hicks Research Fellow.
Other law-related programs are available such as the State Bar of Wisconsin-sponsored Wisconsin High School Mock Trial finals competitions.
The Video Archive has legal programming, especially files from a series called Legally Speaking. Recent events in this series include interviews with leaders of the legal community on such topics as new rules for exonerated individuals, the “faith-healing” debate, rural lawyers, new rules for the courts, and more.
For power users, the site also offers premier customizable access through a paid subscription entitled MyWisconsinEye. Subscribers can clip, save, and share videos, track legislative issues, perform advance searches, and set up alerts. The service offers comprehensive control to valuable content.
Finally, if you have a concept for a story with statewide interest, WisconsinEye accepts ideas related to “Civic Wisconsin.” Please send suggestions and requests for coverage to their Assignment Desk at email@example.com or fax to WisEye Programming at (608) 316-6968.