Sentinel succeeds as a newspaper, which is what matters

Awards are always appreciated, and thank you to the chamber members who honored the Sentinel as the business of the year, announced at the annual dinner last Saturday.

I’d like to dream that the award means everyone agrees with every opinion I have shared on these pages in the past 15 months since I bought the Sentinel. Or at least agrees with me 90% of the time. I’d also like to dream my arthritis will magically go away, but then the doctor would need to treat me for being delusional.

Truth is, I’d probably settle for people agreeing with me half the time. That would be an improvement, as I fear my views on politics (practical left), technology (resistant), social media (aghast), vaccinations (I love a good needle), government (generally works well), stick shifts and food are falling so far out of step that I will never catch up, despite the long stride of someone who is 6-foot-5.

I get it. Who wants to hear some cranky old guy lecture them that people should use their phone to talk, not text; that ketchup never goes on a corn dog; that sprinkles belong on cupcakes and not atop whipped-cream coffee drinks; or that government’s job is to serve everyone, not please everyone.

I guess the test of Wrangell’s acceptance for my opinions may come later this year, when the Sentinel endorses candidates for U.S. House and Senate, governor and Legislature. Also, the fall ballot question on whether Alaska should convene a constitution convention to run the state’s founding laws through the political shredder of 2022 divisiveness to see what comes out in little pieces at the other end. OK, maybe a hint of how I feel about that issue.

But the business of the year award is not about opinions, nor is it really about the Sentinel as a business. On that count, I fail. The newspaper loses money and will continue to lose money for quite awhile. That’s OK, and I knew that when I bought the paper. I wanted the Sentinel to provide more news, more information for the community. That takes more staff, more pages, and more spending. More people are subscribing and reading the paper, which is the goal. Thank you for the support.

I welcome the chamber award because I believe it means that the Sentinel is succeeding at the business of being a quality community newspaper.

That includes telling the truth, such as: The town needs to confront the realities of declining school enrollment, a lack of housing that discourages people from moving here, and a shortage of new residents and their new energy, which are so important for Wrangell’s economic and community health. Nothing against old people like me, but a town without a strong flow of new residents to take the lead only gets smaller.

The Sentinel will be here to provide news and information for those new residents, and old, just as the newspaper has done since 1902.


There is a lot more to Wrangell than just the newspaper, and the chamber handed out three other awards last weekend that deserve everyone’s praise: Sarah Merritt was honored as citizen of the year; Barb Neyman as educator of the year; and Mia Wiederspohn as young leader of the year.


Reader Comments(1)

Kimberly Metcalfe writes:

Congratulations, Larry! I subscribed a couple of months ago and have been very impressed with your latest venture. Wrangell is fortunate to have such an excellent weekly, and it’s great that the business community acknowledges your work. Juneau should be so lucky. Independent journalism is so important. Thank you!