Steve Hannah had no intention of living in Wisconsin. But life and love had other plans. Thanks to a chance detour four decades ago, the New Jersey native found himself in the dairy state and never really left.
Hannah is a former managing editor for the Milwaukee Journal, and he was the CEO of The Onion for more than a decade. One of his longest running columns was one called “State of Mind,” and in it Hannah documented the funny, the weird and the poignant across his adopted state. Those columns have been turned into a book-long love letter to Wisconsin called Dairylandia: Dispatches from a State of Mind.
When Lake Effect's Bonnie North reached him at his home in Madison, Hannah explains it was his then editor in chief at the Milwaukee Journal who gave him what would become the title:
"He ushered me into his office and said, 'I want you to remember one thing, young man from New Jersey. Wisconsin is not just a state. Wisconsin is a state of mind,' " Hannah explains.