How different our lives were way back on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2001.
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The Taliban had just surrendered Kandahar. Two Anchorage twins - the Craigs had won $50,000 for inventing a robot that could deliver a rescue tether to people who had fallen through broken ice. A young Carlos Boozer was still a junior at Duke.
That afternoon, the Juneau Empire introduced This Week, its new Thursday arts and entertainment section. The 35-page tabloid effectively replaced Preview, which had been part of the Thursday A section, and "TV and more," a special Sunday publication from the paper's production department.
"I believe our efforts have been worthwhile," Managing Editor Steve Reed wrote in his "Thinking Out Loud" column on page A4. "I hope you will find This Week to be the attractive, comprehensive and useful entertainment section that is our goal."
A lot was different about that original This Week. For one, pages 13 through 35 were taken up by the paper's TV guide. Syndicated humorist Dave Barry shared page 12 with a list of the 66 basic and cable channels available in town.
A lot was also similar to the basic concept of This Weeks for the next 412 years. Gwen Morton, Giselle Stone and Glen Miller were on the first cover, singing their muktuk out during a rehearsal of Perseverance Theatre's latest presentation of "King Island Christmas." The Alaska State Museum was profiled on page 3 for a 44-assemblage exhibit titled "Found and Assembled in Alaska."
That first issue was fraught with complications. Eleven pages of the debut section became corrupted in the computer system and were irretrievable until moments before the deadline.
As the staff at the Empire changed, so did the size and content of This Week evolve. The section soon slimmed to 12 pages, and the TV guide jumped back to the Sunday paper. Riley Woodford and Julia O'Malley took turns manning the ship. This Week had a brief spell as a Friday section in late 2003, before jumping back to Thursdays.
Hopefully, as Reed predicted, the section has proven to be "attractive, comprehensive and useful." And hopefully, the all-new, 20-page Hooligan section will as well.
Thank you for reading.