Newspaper in fourth decade of serving River Region
Sentinel staff thanks readers, advertisers; pledges to continue serving River Region
By Joshua Maloni
Thirty years ago, a screen star was president, Vanna White was turning letters on “Wheel of Fortune,” musicians were making political statements at the Grammy Awards, and movie star Tom Cruise was dominating the box office.
Boy, those were the days.
1987 also was the year the River Region got its own newspaper.
Of course, it wasn’t the Lewiston-Porter area’s first newspaper – or even its second – but it was the first publication (to our knowledge) to debut without a name.
On Feb. 14, 1987, the paper was printed with a giant headline, in big, bold, red letters, that said, “We Need A Name!”
In a front-page story, editor Joelle Logue wrote, “As you can tell by the masthead, this paper needs a name and, since it will be your newspaper with news of you, your neighborhood and friends, we thought it only fitting that the paper be named by you.”
The Sentinel didn’t become “The Sentinel” until March 14 – issue No. 2. (Back then, the paper was printed monthly.)
Sharon Norbut, a Niagara Falls native who had moved to Lewiston four years earlier, submitted the winning entry. She was pictured with the nameplate design, which was the work of cartoonist and artist Sam Russo. On the front cover, under the words “The Sentinel,” Russo created a row of historic sites that was bookmarked by Artpark and Old Fort Niagara. The subhead read, “The Good News Of The Lewiston/Porter Area.”
Norbut won a $50 savings bond from the Permanent Savings Bank, as well as a $50 gift certificate from the Lewiston Business and Professional Association to use at any of the member businesses.
More than 300 area residents entered the contest. Honorable mention names included “Landmark” and “Beacon.”
It was an odd and imaginative way to launch a newspaper.
Less out of place then – and certainly fitting in 2017 – was Logue’s lead story, wherein she wrote of The Sentinel’s quest for truth.
“George (Washington) was, as exemplified in the cherry tree story, a basically honest man. We intend to be an honest newspaper,” Logue wrote. “Our purpose is to be a public information paper geared to increase community awareness – to point out the advantages and opportunities in this richly historic area. It’s what’s happening, what’s new, the real accomplishments of people and businesses that we’re interested in communicating to you.
“We’ll work hard in bringing you the most complete coverage of the Lewiston-Porter area, but just as Washington set his own strict rules of conduct, he also enjoyed a good time. This paper will be a happy one. There will be no news of Lebanese terrorists, no Nader casualties or bad weather forecasts. We are optimists in your town merely passing good news from organizations, schools and merchants to you.
“As Lee said of George, ‘He was first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.’ So, too, we strive to be first in good reporting, first in marketing integrity, and the number one paper in the heart of Lewiston-Porter.”
To be the River Region’s go-to source of news – good, bad or otherwise – was the staff’s goal in 1987.
It remains our top goal today.