Sentinel presses on; but change causes discomfort about future | Columns

I am writing in response to the news brief in the Saturday, April 17 edition of The Daily Sentinel regarding the newspaper’s announcement that it will no longer run the massive press that inhabits the three-story portion of its manufacturing plant, but instead, will be printing the paper on a press in Montrose.

If I understand correctly, up to this announcement, The Daily Sentinel has run one press or another in-house pretty much every single day for about 125 years. (Notwithstanding the two-day shift to digital editions that came in 2018). For me — a longtime resident of this community — that’s pretty big news.

When I was young, I had a naive assumption that a newspaper was a birthright. It was something that just showed up on driveways and in mailboxes and eventually laid scattered on the floor on Sundays while NFL games played on television sets. As I got older, I learned that a newspaper was much more than that. It was where superheroes worked during the day. It was where smart-talking ladies sat on the corner of desks to pitch their angle of the City Council meeting. It was where young men pushed up shirtsleeves to hammer out the Friday night high school football game recap. It was where literally everyone looked for the information: the outcomes, the final scores, election wins and losses, and all the finer details of anything happening locally and nationally.

The romance of newspapers influenced me so much that I pursued it as a career choice — working on the Wildcat’s Beat in high school, The Criterion in college, and then yes, achieving my goal at working at a newspaper professionally, at The Daily Sentinel, in three different points in my career.

When I first went down this path, newspapers were arguably the most respected form of journalism out there. Where television could break the news, newspapers could devote much more time to the specifics of what happened. Having a front row seat to the process was an honor. When you’re in the presence of great journalism, it’s a treat. And I can attest that this community has benefited from some first-rate journalists working at The Daily Sentinel. Not only writers, but also editors, photographers, designers and a myriad of folks who handle the business end of the operation.

But now we are here, because time marches on. And as we have all witnessed over the past 20 years, online information technology has hobbled the admittedly elderly format of printing ink on paper and hand-delivering it to doorsteps. Surely we should have anticipated something would eventually challenge this process! But that doesn’t make it easier to witness. And while it is a hefty blow to newspapers, they’re not the only industry gravely affected by the online monster. Almost every business has had to adapt to “progress” or risk being pulled under its tire as it rolls over them.

I do not know, but I’m guessing these things weigh heavily on the minds of pretty much all business owners at night; and probably weigh heavily on the minds of newspaper publishers, the local one being no exception.

And as much as I’m poised as a bystander — witnessing each announcement of change, and passing judgment, perhaps unfairly — I don’t pretend to know what could be done differently than what is being done.

What I do know is that this matters to me, and if you’re reading this, it probably matters to you. As long as I’ve been alive, I’ve had a newspaper to help me understand what is happening. I have had a newspaper to be the source of explanation, the voice of reason, and in some cases, the flame that lights the fuse of outrage. I am watching with concern for this lifetime companion, and I want them to know I’m watching.

Editor’s note: The Sentinel’s production schedule will not change with a move to Montrose on July 7. It will continue printing and delivering a printed newspaper five days a week in the same areas it currently serves today.

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Alden Clashes With Billionaire Over Future of Tribune—and of Local News

A few weeks ago, New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital LLC was on the verge of acquiring Tribune Publishing Co. —home to the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other U.S. metro newspapers—with seemingly no one in its way.

Then it offended one of its partners in the deal, setting off a battle that could help shape the future of local news in America.

Maryland hotel magnate Stewart Bainum Jr. had worked out a side arrangement with Alden Chief Executive Heath Freeman to buy the Sun, a paper Mr. Bainum grew up reading. Then, in Mr. Bainum’s view, Alden tried to raise the cost of a fee agreement that would substantially jack up the price, people close to the situation said.

Mr. Bainum told his advisers late on the afternoon of Friday, March 12, that he was worried he could no longer trust Alden, according to a person familiar with the matter.

That evening, the 74-year-old got on the phone with his bankers and decided to attempt a stunning 11th-hour move: his own bid for the whole company, which he announced by the end of the weekend.

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Book review: Tech faculty members take aim at ‘wicked problems’ in new book | Entertainment

The concept of “wicked problems” gets a lot of attention in this book. A quick overview: Wicked problems are unique, large-scale across time and place, difficult to define and relentless. They involve many different actors and stakeholders. Humans are both the cause and the solution of wicked problems.

Climate change, say the authors, is a good example of a super-wicked problem.

“Everyone on earth is both responsible and impacted: the people who cause the problem must solve it,” they explain. “These impacts and responsibilities are distributed unevenly and inequitably.”

Further, interconnections can cause “unanticipated changes to ripple through local and global systems.” Delaying action risks irreversible changes that may lead to catastrophic consequences.

But “Leadership for Sustainability” is not a doom-and-gloom book. Rather, its goal is to empower readers to do what they can regardless of their position or status — to lead from where they are.

“Despite the enormous challenges we face, sustainable development is within reach,” say the authors. “Leadership practices can be learned, and everyone can practice leadership from whatever position or job they happen to hold.”

The book is divided into parts the authors describe as a roadmap, a toolbox and a storybook. The roadmap introduces the Anthropocene — the era in which we now live, defined by the authors as “the time of human responsibility for Earth’s conditions.” The toolbox provides leadership skills, practices and principles for addressing the challenges of the Anthropocene, which the authors stress can be learned and implemented by anyone. The storybook provides case studies that describe people putting these tools and principles into action.

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