Friday, August 26, 2011 - 14:11

THIS ISSUE marks the debut of the Chugiak-Eagle River Star.

Elsewhere in these columns are descriptions of the firm, people, and hardware involved in publication of this new effort. This space will be devoted to a few introductory remarks by the editor in hopes of making known some of our aims and policies.

We are proud of this community. We are proud to be a part of it. The Chugiak-Eagle River area is the fastest-growing in Alaska. It has been built by pioneering, independent, strong-willed, outspoken, dedicated, honest, hard-working citizens. It has been engaged in a struggle to maintain independent identity.

NO MATTER WHAT the political changes of the future, this community is always destined to stand out. It shares, and will continue to share, a kinship with its neighbors over the mountain and across the rivers. But its people have a few philosophical differences with their city cousins. They like their neighbors and work with them, but at this point prefer living their own lives their own way.

Just as we are proud of our community, we intend to make the Star a facility of which the community can be proud.

Our name was chosen because it is symbolic of the community and its goals.

A STAR has five points, representing five neighborhoods within our community. A star also has many other symbolic attachments — a steady, unfailing light by which a person may set his course; the faith and hope of the Christmas star; and the newness of the Space Age.

Definition of our area of coverage as Chugiak-Eagle River acknowledges two strong areas of identity combined. As far as we are concerned our community includes everything embraced by the Rivers Eagle and Eklutna, from their glaciers birthplaces to the waters of Knik Arm whence they rush.

The Star is anxious to take an active part in the future of this community. We look forward to carrying reports each week of the activities of its residents. We want to keep our readers informed on matters which interest or affect them. We want to detail the achievements and accomplishments of the fine people who live here. Unfortunately, there will also be occasion to chronicle bad things that happen to our friends.

WHATEVER the story, we realize there are two sides to every question. We also realize that our readers and the people about whom we write are human beings with ideas and feelings of their own. We pledge ourselves to fair and accurate coverage of news, giving consideration to the people involved.

We will always strive to keep the editor’s opinions and preferences confined to the proper editorial column, and away from the reporting of news. This community has too long been victim of slanted news coverage by our city cousins.

Letters to the editor are invited from readers wishing to express an opinion on timely subjects. In addition, any reader who takes issue with our comments is urged to present his views, either in writing or personally, and coverage will be given them. We intend our opinion page to be a forum for debate. Our only requirements are that reader comments be presented with proper decorum and be of reasonable length.

WE START this new effort and new year with a wish for peace, happiness, health and prosperity for all our readers.

— Lee Jordan, 1971

THIS ISSUE marks the return of the Chugiak-Eagle River Star.

In an effort to reach out to readers in Anchorage, the Mat-Su and beyond, the Star changed its name in 1993 to the Chugiak-Eagle River Alaska Star. That change eventually led to dropping of the “Chugiak-Eagle River” part altogether as the paper tried to push its way into statewide media coverage.

It was a mistake. So starting today, we’ve decided to go back to the original name to further emphasize our commitment to small-town news.

In the early 1990s, the Star’s coverage ballooned to include happenings across Alaska. Often, reporters would file stories that had little or nothing to do with our immediate coverage area as defined in Lee Jordan’s eloquent column announcing the paper’s debut on Jan. 14, 1971.

The newspaper industry was on the brink of change, and papers across the nation were beginning to sense change coming. In 1992, the Anchorage Times shut its doors, opening what must have seemed like a window the Star could use to sneak into the big-city media game.

In the two decades since, our world has become almost unrecognizable from that of 1992 — and newspapers have, too. Instead of serving as dominant media outlets, papers are being relegated to the sidelines as they struggle to compete with competition from the Internet.

BUT THERE’S HOPE, and that hope lies in the original vision Mr. Jordan had for this paper. Providing premium local content will be the key to our success. We believe that by presenting news on the people who live in Chugiak-Eagle River and the things they do here, we can keep our loyal readers and convince new ones to start reading.

And that’s why we’re also making it easier than ever to get a copy. Starting today, the Star will be distributed free at more locations around the area than ever before. We’ll still offer subscriptions to people who want the paper delivered, but now you’ll be able to grab a Star for free at the grocery store, too.

We’ve also spruced up our design. You’ve probably noticed an emphasis in past weeks on magazine-style covers emphasizing only a single feature or subject. We hope you like the new look. All your favorite features and news are still inside the paper, and we liked the idea of being able to put out a bold product that will grab readers’ attention.

There’s going to be more community information from groups like local service organizations and churches, and you’ll likely see the paper continue to grow in size and content as we add features provided by folks like the local historical society and even Lee Jordan himself.

We’re also in the final stages of developing our new website, which will make it easier for online readers to access and submit content through cyberspace. The site will also give our reporters the ability to post more breaking news and events, something that will enable us to step outside the confines of the weekly news cycle to bring you up-to-date information as it becomes available.

NO MATTER WHAT, if it’s local news, we want it in our paper. That’s how it was in 1971, and we pledge to continue upholding the journalistic values laid out in that first editorial.

We hope you like the changes. Let us know if you do. And if you don’t, we want to hear about that, too. Whether you want to submit a letter to the editor for publication or just chat about a story idea, we’re here to listen. This is your paper. We don’t want to speak for this community; we want continue giving Chugiak-Eagle River an independent voice.

We can’t do that right without a little feedback. So call us at 694-2727 or email [email protected].

WE START this new effort with a wish for peace, happiness, health and prosperity for all our readers.

If you keep reading, we’ll keep writing.

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