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John McCracken

Freelance Journalist

Location icon 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.

In 2021, I founded The NEWcomer, an independent news project covering politics, arts, and culture in Northeastern Wisconsin. Stories can be seen at thenewcomerwi.substack.com.

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

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

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 over $70,000. If you are interested in seeing examples of my grant writing or curious about my rates, please email - [email protected]

Thanks for stopping by.



Investigative and longform stories

Great Lakes Now
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.

Belt Magazine
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.

The Press Times
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.

Tone Madison
No more Kwikies

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

The Press Times
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.

Local reporting

The Press
BayCare Aurora drops Green Bay property tax lawsuit

By John McCracken Correspondent GREEN BAY - BayCare Aurora, Green Bay's largest taxpayer, has dropped a 2020 lawsuit against the city alleging improper tax assessment for 2020 property taxes. The suit was initially filed in August 2020, alleging a difference of almost $73 million in prope

The Press Times
Amtrak’s Green Bay proposal faces many stops along the route

GREEN BAY – The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, better known as Amtrak, recently released its vision to expand into 160 different communities around the country, including Green Bay. Amtrak’s proposal would provide new passenger rail services for Green Bay, Madison and Eau Claire with regional expansions into the Twin Cities, Duluth, Minnesota and Rockford, Illinois.

The Press Times
City art scene hampered by pandemic, plans continue

Laura Schley is the only paid staff member at the City of Green Bay’s Public Art Commission (GBPAC), a division of the community and economic development department. A single full-time employee devoted to public arts in Wisconsin’s third largest city is not uncommon.

The Press Times
A NEW approach to food in the region

BROWN COUNTY - Northeast Wisconsin is home to numerous agricultural systems, and one community advocate is set on mapping these for stakeholders.

The Press Times
Certain groups embrace hygge and friluftsliv

GREEN BAY - To Joy Bashara, there's no such thing as bad weather - just bad clothes. The retired teacher and Green Bay resident is the president of the city's local Sons of Norway chapter, Grønnvik 632.

The Press Times
Somali students face barriers without in-person instruction

GREEN BAY - First, schools are closed and shift to virtual learning as a contagious virus spreads. Next, jobs are lost or pay is reduced. Finally, child care is closed and the future is suddenly cloudy. This story is familiar for parents across the Green Bay Area Public School District, but for refugee parents, there is a language barrier when trying to get information from teachers or administrators.

The Press Times
Amid tough sledding, businesses start in Brown County

BROWN COUNTY - "We opened in the middle of August,” said local beer connoisseur Nick Calaway with a slight laugh. “The whole project had been underway for several years and there was no stopping it.” The project was the construction of a new, 16-line taproom and brewery with 18-foot-tall ceilings for Ahnapee Brewery in Suamico, the second location for the Algoma-based brewery.

The Press Times
Restaurants adjust with online delivery options

GREEN BAY - Local restaurants have relied on customers ordering food with a single click from the comfort of their couches throughout the pandemic, but not without a few technical glitches.

The Press Times
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.

The Press Times
Lectures move full STEAM ahead

A mathematician, photographer and political scientist walk into Neville Public Museum after hours, each bringing a unique conversation, and anyone with an internet connection can watch. STEAM Engine is a local organization providing interactive

The Press Times
Rats remain problem in Green Bay

As the Green Bay Packers look to climb the NFC North Division rankings, another ruthless offense is making its way to the top of an unsavory list - rats.

The Press Times
UWGB aims to help students, regional growth

Green Bay is approximately 6 percent below the national average for undergraduate degrees produced, according to the most recent Census data. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, leaders in the field are hopeful to bridge that higher education gap.

The Press Times
Green Bay forming youth esports program

GREEN BAY - Local youth ages 8 and older can soon go head-to-head without meeting face-to-face thanks to Green Bay's Parks, Recreation and Forestry's Esports program, launching next year.

Music writing

Bandcamp Daily
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
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.

Tone Madison
Ratboys' patient evolution pays off in explosive fashion

Beginning in a Chicago college dorm in the late 2000s, the story of Ratboys is a familiar one: Members meeting early in their school years, releasing sparse demos and EPs, and formulating a sound of their own in a sea of indie hyphen everything. The result of that is a calculated indie-rock sound where a penchant for precision meets an affinity for deeply personal songwriting.

Tone Madison
Knocked Loose, Stick To Your Guns, Rotting Out, Candy, SeeYouSpaceCowboy

Hailing from Oldham County, Kentucky, Knocked Loose has continually set and often exceeded the bar for hardcore since its 2013 inception, touring nonstop and capturing a powerfully distilled anger on its 2016 debut LP, Laugh Tracks. Their 2019 follow-up, A Different Shade Of Blue, will be looked at as a pivotal moment for the hardcore genre in the coming years.

Opinion, personal essays, and oddities

Tone Madison

"The one thing about this particular medium is that even though it's grotesque and repulsive, there's something of beauty within if you look hard enough. That's what we see on the tables here."

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
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.

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