John McCracken

Environmental, culture, and rural issues journalist

United States

Hi, I'm John.

I'm a freelance journalist in Green Bay, Wisconsin who writes about environmental issues, business developments, local government, community issues, music, art, and politics.

I have reported on breaking labor news, the politics of a prominent Midwest gas station chain, the intimacy of food in the face of a global pandemic, and interviewed multiple New York Times Bestselling authors.

I enjoy finding odd facts, digging through public records, and gathering important details to provide a clear picture of a story.

In August 2021, I was selected as the Founding Editor of Green Bay City Pages, a print and digital newspaper covering arts and entertainment in the greater Green Bay area. In this role, I copyedited freelance and staff content on a daily basis, was responsible for approving layout and design for a weekly print product, managed a team of over 12 freelance writers and two staff writers, published daily content on WordPress website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and MailChimp, and fielded editorial pitches, inquires, letters and concerns from community members and writers.

As of February 2022, I have been freelance writing and working part-time as a reporter for The Denmark News in the rural village of Denmark, Wisconsin.

Since 2021, I have published a weekly Northeast Wisconsin art, culture, and politics newsletter called The NEWcomer on Substack, which can be found at the website link below.

My work has appeared in the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, Great Lakes Now - Detroit Public Television, UpNorthNews, Bandcamp Daily, Loudwire, In These Times, The Capital Times, The Press Times, Tone Madison, Belt Magazine, Milwaukee Record, Stained Pages News, and more.

Apart from my reporting experience, I have over four years of grant writing experience with successful grant applications totaling over $400,000 in received funding and with single sum awards of over $70,000. If you are interested in seeing examples of my grant writing or are curious about my rates, please email - [email protected]

Thanks for stopping by.

(he/him/his)

Portfolio

Environmental and agricultural reporting

Great Lakes Now
08/06/2021
Is indoor fish farming a viable way of tackling declining fish populations?

For decades, Green Bay Wisconsin National Guardsmen stored munitions and trained new recruits in a stucco-clad, Chicago Street building built in 1918. Now, the building is home to hundreds of fish babies. The Farmory, an urban farming nonprofit, is the only indoor fish hatchery in Wisconsin.

Tone Madison
03/22/2022
Tracking the hazy air quality at "hotspots" in southern Wisconsin and beyond - Tone Madison

Evonik Materials Corp. in Milton ranks second among the company's U.S. operations in terms of the cancer risks ProPublica found. The company's Goose Creek, South Carolina silica production facility, with a three times increased risk rate, comes in third. The Janesville facility is fourth. The Milton and Janesville plants have a long history.

The Press Times
12/10/2020
Suamico's last dairy farmer 'burnt out'

Randy Styczynski inherited a few young calves from his grandparents when he was a junior at Green Bay Southwest High School in 1979. His grandparents sold off their milking herd and Styczysnki began to purchase more cattle. He took over operations and was milking a small head of eight dairy cows in the following spring. Come early 2021, Styczynski is retiring as the last operating dairy farm in the Village of Suamico.

Green Bay City Pages
11/11/2021
A more resilient river

Collaborative efforts across municipalities and citizen groups aim to share plans and solutions in the face of past and future East River flooding

Politics, business, community issues reporting

Tone Madison
08/17/2020
No more Kwikies

As Wisconsin's right-wing convenience store empire expands, what happens to contraception access?

The Press Times
02/25/2021
Brown County buffering on rural broadband need

BROWN COUNTY - In November, Pieter deHart and his family moved a couple of miles south from New Franken to a home on Bellevue's far-east side. The only thing they didn't bring with them was high-speed broadband.

The Press Times
01/28/2021
A mess of maps: Legislative redistricting effort faces challenges

BROWN COUNTY - In the past, district maps described as a “squid with lots of tentacles” would be easily identifiable as gerrymandered. “It used to be ‘I know gerrymandering when I see it,’” said Jonathon Dunbar, an associate professor of mathematics at St. Norbert College. Given the complexity of map drawing, Dunbar said shape is not always a good indicator for malfeasance. “There may be a very good reason why a district is drawn to have these tentacles,” he said.

Music, art, culture reporting

Wisconsin People & Ideas Magazine
05/04/2022
Booyah: A Noun, A Verb, An Exclamation!

It's a noun, a verb, an exclamation, and a hot bowl of everything but the kitchen sink. Booyah, a regional soup, holds a firm grip over the people of Green Bay and northeast Wisconsin at large.

The Denmark News
03/26/2022
Getting a grip on sheepshead, a life-long Denmark pastime

Every Tuesday, a storied group of Denmark area residents gathers together at the Denmark Community Activity Center to shuffle 32 cards, score some tricks and take each other’s money, one nickel at a time.

Belt Magazine
The Legend of "Ski Green Bay"

There are various versions of the story. Some people say it happened during a 4th of July parade so the police would be preoccupied. Some people say it was done after a few too many beers. Others say it happened because the men behind it needed some quick cash.

Stained Pages News
02/18/2022
A Cookbook for Prisoners, by Prisoners

Cooking in prison as an incarcerated individual is not easy. Depending on the institution, ingredients are limited to whatever the cafeteria is serving and what is available for purchase (at a steep cost) in the prison’s canteen. Some Wisconsin institutions limit incarcerated individuals' access to heat sources down to just hot water, no microwave or hotplate to be found. Canteen Cuisine was created in 2019 by Wisconsin Books to Prisoners, a volunteer-run community group that connects...

Bandcamp Daily
02/23/2021
Cybergrind: Having Fun on the Internet (With Blast Beats)

Zombie shark, bubblegum octopus, data pagan—the names of cybergrind artists could easily be characters from a now-defunct Konami or Square Enix franchise. Cybergrind, a wild mix of squealing digital production paired with guttural vocals from fleshy humans, is just as rooted in the work of ‘90s electro-grinders like Agoraphobic Nosebleed, The Berzerker, Catasexual Urge Motivation, and The Locust, as it is the colorful world of old-school video games.

Tone Madison
12/04/2020
When the J-card is a diary

Stalwart Wisconsin DIY musician Amos Pitsch (best known for his work in Tenement and Dusk and more recently his solo records) finds that the personal remnants of used media allow him to peer deep into former owners’ psyches.

Belt Magazine
12/18/2020
Wisconsin's Pandemic Winter

An end to the pandemic is within sight, but in the meantime, cold weather, isolation, and already-strained public health infrastructure will converge in the state this winter.

Podcast interviews

Fundraising and audience engagement

Mailchimp- Tone Madison
Dear Reader

Is it ok if I call you that? To Tone Madison, you are so much more. You're an inquisitor, listener, audience member, mourning show-goer, art-lover, public-commenter, thought-provoker, brick-thrower, gut-buster, retweeter, whistleblower, cheerleader, and that's not even the half of it. To us, you are a lifeline. You are a source of love and sustainability.

MailChimp-Tone Madison
Reflecting on our top stories of 2020 so far

Just for Tone Madison Sustainers, here's a look behind the scenes with the authors. These were gathered together to showcase the variety of perspectives involved in Tone Madison and the care that we take when reporting on the Madison community.

The River Food Pantry
07/22/2020
Dear Friend, Your Second Gift is Needed

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, all gifts in support of FAM received by September 1 will be matched up to $25,000! Would you consider making your second gift today?

Mailchimp- Tone Madison
Tone Madison Listening Party 2019

Email marketing piece sent to promote an annual fundraising and music event for an independent, local news outlet in Madison, WI.