From the Editor:

Category: Local News
Created on Wednesday, 25 March 2020 15:46

The Daily Sitka Sentinel ventured into unknown territory Tuesday, with the first edition since the founding of the paper in 1939 to be published in virtual lockdown conditions.

It was also the first day that copies of the entire edition of the Sentinel were available without charge to all Sitkans, a policy that the Sentinel plans to continue as long as the COVID-19 disaster emergency is in effect. The Sentinel took this step to keep the newspaper available to the community while eliminating the day-to-day delivery and office procedures that involve the most personal contact between employees and the public.

Since Tuesday, Sentinel reporters have been working remotely, and as many other editorial operations as possible are being done off-site, including page makeup and posting to the Sentinel’s website.

The Sentinel’s Barracks Street office and printing plant are still the hub of the newspaper’s daily operations. Outside contact is by phone and email. The office is closed to the public, and the few key employees on site are following social distance protocols, and disinfecting surfaces they touch. Those handling the papers after they come off the press are using disposable gloves.

Distribution sites for the paper are those that have been used for single paper sales. Sea Mart, Market Center and AC Lakeside Grocery are the principal ones. Other locations are ones where the Sentinel has had coin-operated racks, including the front of the Sentinel office. The number of papers needed at all sites will be determined by the experience of the first several days of distribution.

The Sentinel is mindful of the hardship that discontinuation of home delivery is causing readers who are unable to leave their homes, and asks those who are able to check with a neighbor who might appreciate it if you would pick up two papers and drop one off for them.

With Sitka, like the rest of Alaska, facing a public health crisis whose extent is not yet known, the Sentinel plans to continue its mission of reporting the news to Sitkans while taking measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Thad Poulson