Editorially-speaking, from around the state...
Voice of the Tundra
One of the unspoken rules of the newspaper is to stay abreast of what is happening in different communities, some near and others far away. Here in our sparsely populated state, everything seems to be at a great distance, but the commonalities are many. Alaskans seem to fret and worry about some of the things and grapple with issues as common as those just down the street. Every week we do a cursory read of some of the newspapers in the state; doing so has a binding effect on us.
Down in southeast, the Petersburg Pilot addressed the question of whether a borough ought to be formed. In an editorial titled “Control our destiny, don’t have it dictated by others,” publisher Ron Loesch wrote, “We believe the majority will uphold Petersburg’s tradition of charting a long-term course of action that will benefit the community with economic stability, improved quality of life and potential for growth.” The editorial goes on to say that, “Not wanting to pay taxes is not a good reason to vote against the borough, particularly when those taxes support education.” The Pilot also reasoned that, “Government is not expected to grow as a result of borough formation, and yet the opportunity exists for the expansion of infrastructure and services for those that may request same. There are rural residents that understand the benefits of living in close proximity to the services provided by both the municipality and the private sector and are willing to support the continuation of those benefits.” In the paper’s four decades of publishing it has not strayed from the obligation to address controversial issues.
For that issue, the Pilot’s top story was headlined, “City and Harbor Board find way to fund North Harbor.”
And, in northwestern Alaska, the state’s oldest newspaper, The Nome Nugget, sternly lectured the governments. “Our state and federal folks in charge need to pay attention to the safety of our food sources, the larger picture of global warming and the role of technology in the preservation of our planet. Trouble will come our way faster and faster as the sea ice disappears and the oceans get warmer, our glaciers slide in the sea, our permafrost melts and our floods, heat and monster storms hold us in their grip. So who has our back?”
The Nugget’s front page headline could have been ours - “Council mulls funding priorities, port at top of wish list.”
And, in the 100th anniversary issue of the Juneau Empire, the lead story was on the evolution of the capital city’s paper. “Empire publisher announces coming changes,” is a story on the redesign of the daily and the implementation of a system under which readers will pay for web content. The editorial was a reprint of one which appeared in the Chicago Tribune. “Latino voters shake up GOP, rekindle immigration reform.” How we deliver news is of interest to everyone just as political issues are and should be.
Perhaps the editorial that could have run in any paper in the state was in last week’s Ketchikan Daily News. “The budget narrative presents a picture of a slowing growing economy. It points out that growth would be affected by national and world financial activities. But aside from that, the community has potential in Ketchikan Shipyard acquiring the contracts to build a complement of Alaska Class Ferries over the next eight to 10 years. There also is the development of the Niblack metals mine on Prince of Wales, which might mean as many as 80 jobs in Ketchikan where an ore processing facility might be located.”
So there you have it, a roundup of four of the best papers in the state. The issues are like ours — how to keep the local economy healthy and who watches government. For those of us in the news business, that’s our job and we enjoy it!