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Story Last modified at 2:33 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A few changes, but still the same old Star

As we've all come to find out over the past couple of years, change isn't always as easy to create or as swift in coming as folks would like. Sometimes, change can only happen through heroic effort, selfless sacrifice and tireless dedication; even then, it still can take great time and patience to achieve.

But change can also come fast, sometimes arriving so quickly that simply adjusting to and reacting to the difference takes all the effort we can bring to bear.

Change has come quickly to the Star in recent weeks, and we've been doing everything we can to adjust and react in order to continue providing our readers the comprehensive local news coverage they've come to expect since this paper printed its first edition in 1971.

The biggest change you'll notice is on our masthead. As of last week, I was promoted to replace Melissa Devaughn as the Star's editor. After working with Melissa for much of the past year, I gained enormous respect for her as a journalist; after having done her job for the past couple weeks, I've gained even more respect for her as a person. Being the editor of a small-town paper is a difficult and time-consuming task, and if I can do it half as efficiently as she did, I'll consider it an unqualified success.

As editor, my only job will be to make this paper the best I can for its readers, without whose support these words could not be printed. This means being responsive to the needs of the Chugiak-Eagle River community and giving people the local news and information they can't get anywhere else. Our goal isn't to tell you what's going on in national politics or global current events; instead, we aim to show and tell you what's happening with your neighbors, your kids, your friends.

To do that, we'll soon be bringing on a reporter to replace Zaz Hollander, whose ability to find stories people couldn't read anywhere else was unmatched. Zaz will be missed, but rest assured that whoever is chosen to replace her will share her aggressiveness and zeal for tracking down the stories that you want to read.

Staff won't be the only changes you'll see over the next few months. We've got some surprises in store for you that we feel will help us have an even stronger presence in this community. In the coming months, you'll notice changes to our Web site, as well as a renewed shift in our print edition toward more feature news stories and photos that you can't find anywhere else.

The future of small, local newspapers like the Star is bright. Although many believe the Internet has sounded the death knell of print media, I do not. Online sources provide us with a wealth of information these days, but it's quite difficult to find a blog that covers high school gymnastics meets, neighborhood land disputes and community happenings the way we do.

For the past 40 years, the Star has been where Chugiak-Eagle River folks have gone for news of themselves and their community. In this paper have run the faces and names – through hard times and good – of the people we live, work and play with right here in our little corner of Alaska.

That's one thing that's never going to change.

A community paper needs input from its readers in order to reflect their needs; if you have any questions or comments about how to make the Star a better publication, please don't hesitate to give me a call at 694-2727 or email me at

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, July 6, 2011.