'They're going to see us out in the community': Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Greg Borowski plots a course into a modern news future

NOW: ’They’re going to see us out in the community’: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Greg Borowski plots a course into a modern news future

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel named Greg Borowski its new executive editor earlier this year, marking a new era of leadership for Wisconsin's largest and most prominent newspaper.

Borowski sat down with CBS 58 Sunday Morning to discuss growing up in Milwaukee, the state of news and what it means to lead the newsroom of his hometown paper.

"My earliest memories of being in the news business were probably when I was a newspaper carrier back when I was age 12," Borowski said.

Borowski grew up grew up in Milwaukee's Riverwest Neighborhood and had an early start to his news career.

"My brother and I got a route covering the [Milwaukee] Sentinel and we would split it up going down each side of the street, throwing the papers on the porch," Borowski recalled. "The midpoint of our route was Nino's Bakery so we would always stop there and scrape together enough money to buy a couple of jelly doughnuts and chocolate milk and we would sit on the stoop and open up the paper and kind of read about what was going on."

Now, Borowski has gone from delivering the newspaper on his bike, to determining what goes in the paper from his office at the Journal Sentinel.

"There's no other newsroom where I would want the top job," Borowski said.

He took the job in February, succeeding George Stanley who retired in late 2022.

Coincidentally, Stanley was the managing editor who hired Borowski in 1998 as a city hall beat reporter.

"For me it was a dream come true to come back and cover your hometown," Borowski told CBS 58 Sunday Morning in an interview.

Borowski takes over during a pivotal time in the paper's history as the industry battles revenue challenges, higher demand for news and shrinking newsrooms across the country.

"For those reporters, it's a much higher pace than it was years ago," Borowski said. "But the other factor of the online world, with social media and everything is that it's really changed the level of scrutiny that reporters are facing."

But Borowski said the JS is embracing the challenges by balancing its online product with its paper product and strengthening other mediums.

"We've pushed ourselves to do more with audio, more with video, we have a studio here with a green screen background where we can record different things," Borowski said as he shared a tour of the JS offices.

Borowski said meeting the challenges of covering news in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin is not just for the benefit of the paper, but vital for the community to succeed.

"When you think of all the problems we have in this community, deep-seeded challenges from segregation and poverty, struggles in education and crime, that for this community to really thrive it needs a newsroom that's strong and thriving."

Borowski, though soft-spoken, has earned the respect of his colleagues in the newsroom where he makes frequent visits to different desks to learn what his reporters are working on and provide guidance.

"I believe we have some of the best reporters in the country in this newsroom," Borowski said. "We're able, better than anybody else to get out there and tell the news with breadth and depth and balance to give a full picture of what's happening in our community."

CBS 58 Sunday Morning asked Borowski what readers can expect of the paper with his leadership.

"The first thing that readers can expect is that they are going to see more of us, they're going to see us out in the community, we're going to be doing our level best to tell stories that reflect everybody who lives here in Milwaukee."

As executive editor, Borowski manages the Journal Sentinel's present and guides its future as the paper shares the first draft of history for the city he grew up in. And he says he's in it for the long haul.

"I've been in this newsroom for 25 years," Borowski said. "I don't see myself moving to another newsroom, I haven't over that time and will want to be here and am committed and I know our staff is as well. And it gives me a real confidence to tackle any challenge out there and to keep forging ahead with the stories that we want to tell and that the communities needs to have told."

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