The front page of the Juneau Empire on June 3, 1986

The front page of the Juneau Empire on June 3, 1986

Letter from the Editor: The more things change, the more they stay the same

A month or so ago, one of our readers offered up an interesting idea worth repeating.

Long ago as a local high schooler, she worked as an intern for the Juneau Empire when it was still housed in the old Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. building downtown. Her job was to dig through the newspaper’s archives and write a summary of past articles published on that day 30 or 40 years earlier.

Too often we lose track of our community’s history as we make decisions about its future. I started looking through our archives, page by page, and noticed a reoccuring theme: very little about what’s happening in Juneau, and Alaska at large, is actually new.

The sources interviewed in the stories changed over time but the subjects were very much the same 30 years ago as they are today: downtown needs parking; a new library was built; the Legislature dealt with a state budget deficit (it was only $1 billion in Fiscal Year 1987); and there were attempts to curb alcohol abuse statewide.

The suggestion from our reader was worth trying again, but first we needed to find a high school intern. Fortunately we knew exactly where to look.

I met Tasha Elizarde, an incoming Juneau-Douglas High School senior, in December 2015 when she resurrected the school’s student newspaper, the J-Bird. Resuscitating a dead publication would would have been difficult enough for a trained professional journalist, not to mention a high schooler balancing school and life. I was impressed with her moxie and passion for journalism.

Today you’ll notice a new daily segment called “This Day in Juneau History,” compiled and written by Tasha from articles published 30 years ago to the day. (Note: the Empire used to publish only five days per week Monday through Friday).

We hope you enjoy this light stroll down memory lane, and that this segment proves to be both entertaining and enlightening.

Very Respectfully,

Charles L. Westmoreland

Director of Audience / Editor, The Juneau Empire


Related stories:

This Day in Juneau History: June 3, 1986

This Day in Juneau History: June 4, 1986

The front page of the Juneau Empire on June 4, 1986

The front page of the Juneau Empire on June 4, 1986

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