Sentinel goes live: Click to read St Helena’s new paper

front cover of the first Sentinel. Headline: On the starting blocks.
WHO GOES THERE? Click the picture to read the first edition of the Sentinel

The first edition of St Helena’s new newspaper, The Sentinel, has gone online. Read it here (note: the link address has changed since it was first published on this site).

The front page splash is a week-old story about new TV channels, but one that came too late for the previous week’s Independent.

But its own inside-page opinion piece may yet make a hotter story: columnist Les Baldwin suggests there are too many dolphins in James Bay, and says island fishermen should be allowed to go back to catching them, in very limited numbers. Watch this website.

The St Helena Independent has also published its final edition, here. Or has it? There are calls in the letters page for editor Mike Olsson to find a way to revive the paper.

The paper also publishes an open letter calling for John Styles and Stuart Moors to resign from their senior roles on the Chamber of Commerce, because of their involvement in setting up the new government-funded media organisation in competition with a private-sector newspaper.

This website will run a story on the resignation call shortly. There are perspectives on the story that cannot be shared – at this stage – because they have been given in confidence.

In his farewell editorial, Mike Olsson recalls how the paper began as an internet-only publication in 2005. He says he has been overwhelmed by the messages of support he has received. Read comments to this website here – more views are welcome.

In a letter, Gregory Cairns-Wicks writes:

“What a sad day it is, being the last day that we the public of St Helena will have the opportunity to write letters and freely express opinions in a publication truly free of Government control. I wonder how many people out there can remember the days before the Indy started up?

“Back then letters to the Government run paper were routinely refused publication if they touched on sensitive subjects or openly criticised SHG.

“I am in no doubt that without the launch of the Indy we would still be today denied truly free speech. Mike’s publication has annoyed all of us at one time or another, but personally I have always felt that the benefits of an independent newspaper have continually and greatly outweighed any negatives.”

‘Exciting’ new media will benefit islanders, says government
State funded paper won’t be controlled from The Castle, says founder
‘The Indy challenged the government: is this why it had to be silenced?’

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  1. Two newspapers, one containing interesting and challenging content and the other a complete waste of natural resources. And it’s the first that is closing! Saint Helena is truly a strange place!

  2. Dear editor: amendment to my previous comment – small typo: the first exclamation mark should have been a question mark. Hence: “Two newspapers, one containing interesting and challenging content and the other a complete waste of natural resources. And it’s the first that is closing? Saint Helena is truly a strange place!”

  3. Comment on The Sentinel:

    On the plus side the typesetting is very good and I’m particularly impressed with the use of colour and especially the photographs. The proofreading is an improvement on The Independent although not perfect eg ’cause’ instead of ‘sauce’.

    However it’s as dull as ditch water. I would have thought that a debut newspaper would have featured some sort of scoop. No. The whole edition seems to consist of press releases, government job vacancies, classified advertising, the usual small scale community news and a few anodyne stories thrown in as filler. There’s no bite to it and I really can’t see anybody wanting to spend a Pound a week on such boring drivel.

    The Independent was amateurish at times but they had passionate writers who were willing to dig for stories which are important to the people of St Helena. I liked the jokes as well!

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