The South Atlantic’s newest newspaper – due out at the end of the month – is to be called the St Helena Sentinel, according to notices that have gone up in Jamestown’s shop windows.
Only a few days ago this website was told the name was being kept secret.
Wikipedia lists a clutch of Sentinel newspapers in the United States, one each in England, India and Canada, and one – get this – in St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean. That was quick.
It will replace the St Helena Herald, which published its final issue on 9 March 2012. If anyone felt the state-funded paper was too close to the government, then it was only living up to its name: it meant, among other things, “a royal or official messenger”.
Does the name of the new paper – from an old Italian word, Sentina, meaning vigilance – tell us anything about its likely character?
One online dictionary defines a sentinel as a person or thing that watches or stands as if watching, which doesn’t sound very dynamic. Another says a sentinel is one who gives a warning.
And a third says it is a soldier stationed as a guard to challenge all comers and prevent a surprise attack.
Is there something the publishers know that the rest of us don’t?
One thing’s for sure: it’s a much, much better name than The Island That Was Eaten By Goats.