Tauscher and investors buy Isthmus

The Red Card meal-plan organization and former University of Wisconsin Badger and Green Bay Packer offensive tackle Mark Tauscher really are teaming up to buy Isthmus Publishing Co., publisher of popular alternative weekly magazine Isthmus and a news website in Madison.

The investment group also includes Jeff Haupt and Craig Bartlett. They bought it from longtime Isthmus publisher Vince O’Hern. O’Hern and his wife and associate publisher Linda Baldwin will retire from the company.

Haupt has long been associated with The Onion, the nationally known satire newspaper that started in Madison, and Bartlett also has an Onion background, as well as sales and marketing for the Madison Mallards baseball team and Adams Outdoor Advertising.

“In recent years, I’ve been just as disgusted with the political climate: Citizens United, gerrymandering and other horrible ideas covered up with a lot of money and great marketing. Don Draper would be an even wealthier man in this environment,” Haupt wrote in announcing the transaction online this morning. “I don’t have the money to fight this evil marketing machine, but I think I did one better: I am ensuring that a local, independent news organization stays that way. Isthmus has never answered to out-of-town interests, a corporate overlord that pulls the strings (sorry Mitch Henck) or the personal interests of a wealthy few. And with this transition, a great newsman, and founder of Isthmus, has guaranteed it never will.”

Haupt said Tauscher will contribute sports coverage to the Isthmus mix that features political news and information about Madison’s nightlife and culture.

“I used to be a news junkie. My morning ritual consisted of reading a few local and national publications, but that slowly changed as the ‘news companies became more corporate, and journalists and investigative journalism were cut and replaced with someone listening to the local police blotter and reporting it. There’s more to the news than someone getting an eighth OWI,” Haupt said. “We hope our commitment to independent journalism and investigative reporting, and our love of all things Madison, will be clear as Isthmus begins this new chapter. Craig, Mark, and I are excited to join a dedicated professional staff, and we look forward to serving the community.”

The Isthmus won several awards for editorial excellence from the Milwaukee Press Club this year.

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