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Story Last modified at 6:14 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Local papers still a vital voice in the community

The editorial by Melissa DeVaughn in the June 9 Alaska Star struck a nostalgic chord with me. It noted the value of a community newspaper in keeping neighbors in touch with each other, giving deserved praise when it would otherwise go unnoticed, and alerting them to things that might be detrimental to their future. Melissa graciously referred to the goals set forth by me 40 years ago when the Star first hit the streets of Chugiak-Eagle River.

Unfortunately, the news business is changing as publishers struggle to meet today's challenges. The expectations of readers are changing: They want to know what is happening this very moment, not only across the street but across the oceans, and they expect a "beep" to let them know when a new item is on the little screen held in their hand. Changing, too, are the needs of advertisers who must shepherd their dollars in a time when a multitude of media are touting theirs as the most effective way to reach potential customers. More and more, the mom and pop stores owned by people who live among us and know our needs are being replaced by branches of national chains – stores where clerks and managers are rarely here long enough to learn our names.

The newspaper is vital in keeping a community what it is: a place with a commonality of people, of ideals, of aspirations, and of activities. In community there is security. In community there is identity. I am convinced that had it not been for the Chugiak-Eagle River (Alaska) Star over the past four decades, where we live would not be Chugiak or Eagle River, but just two more Anchorage Zip codes.

The Star is a great community newspaper. I am proud to have been a part of it. I hope it continues for another four decades, and many decades after that, in the same tradition.

– Lee Jordan, founder, Chugiak-Eagle River (Alaska) Star


This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, June 15, 2011.