When I began my 6-month internship at the Sentinel things seemed to be just as I had imagined they would be at a well-circulating, mid-size newspaper. I was interviewed at the office downtown in a large newsroom above an even larger advertising department in a building that had been built specifically to accommodate the paper. To work I would walk through the back door, past the greasy racks of newspapers and the printing department and up the stairs to the photo office.
My first assignment was photographing a bike accident on High St. that we picked up of the police scanner. The reporter and I got to the scene at the same time the paramedics did. That feat seems laughable now with the Sentinel’s offices 20 minutes up Highway 17 in Scotts Valley.
Yes, things were just like I imagined until the Editor, Tom Honig, came out into the newsroom and addressed the whole staff on the recent changes. The sale of the paper to MediaNews, the major layoffs, the very unpopular move to Scotts Valley and more to come? Suddenly I realized things were not as they seemed.
That was the first of a couple experiences that I saw first hand which epitomize not just the changing face of the Sentinel, but the changing of the people and passion behind the paper.
A few weeks later the move was complete and Honig had resigned, to be replaced by then Managing Editor Don Miller.
This week’s top story in Metro Santa Cruz is a piece written by Tom Honig, the former Editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Tonig wrote about the paper’s history and why it is struggling against an onslaught of forces including corporate profit pressure and internet journalism.
The Sentinel is an amazing test case for the future of journalism. Honig offers some interesting perspectives on the future of the medium and the future of the Sentinel. He seems positive about the possibilities but realistic about the changes and new avenues that newspapers will have to take in order to succeed.
Toning ended by commenting that “Some papers, as Darwin might have suggested, will survive. And future generations, like Darwin, will examine what traits they had that allowed them to thrive even while others could not.”