I really miss the old Sentinel, a veritable tome in its day; some days you could expect to encounter actual sparks in the editorial pages.

Then somehow a bright light began to fade in the Monadnock Region. Maybe it was misplaced editorial zeal, or perhaps the stroke of a green-visored bookkeeper’s budgeting pen. Somewhere, perhaps it was the Internet, so much competition, not able to adapt to the magic of instant news, befell the subscription rates to the old Senti-senile (as we once derided the local rag).

Perhaps it’s competition from the local free advertiser, which has I believe more local writers and is a bit more quirky. Is that even fair? Or accurate?

I’m thinking that a combination of events, a perfect storm as you all say. I’ve made some suggestions which seem to go by the wayside: Publish more letters and resist publishing canned reports from far away places when local examples of recipes, local lore and environmentalism are available in abundance.

Offer vanity and focal-point publishing, like ELF magazine, and more puzzles and perhaps a serial story from a local award-winning writer. Actually follow through on community and entrepreneurial ventures. The Sentinel used to be everywhere, not driven by national news suppliers.

Start with a severe self-examination of the physical environment of The Sentinel building’s ventilation system. Have you noticed that since many workers are telecommuting, has their general health improved?

I know that a certain amount of water-cooler camaraderie may be lost in the pandemic. A high-profile thing The Sentinel could do would be to lease out the property of the old Keene drive-in to build a village of tiny houses to alleviate the homeless population. Whatever happened to the small-town papers that were meant to bridge local culture? I hope to see The Keene Sentinel regain its former legerdemain.

I’m sorry I have a hard time getting it all in 400 words; I’d suggest you offer more prolific writers with strong opinions a regular place in the paper.

Next time: Afghanistan women tame the new nice Taliban.

Marcus McCarroll


(Editor’s note: The Sentinel long ago sold the property on Optical Ave-nue to which the writer refers.)