Petersburg Pilot publishers purchase Wrangell Sentinel

Posted: Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The Petersburg Pilot and the Wrangell Sentinel, two weekly newspapers serving central Southeast Alaska, are now under the same ownership.

Pilot publishers Ron and Anne Loesch purchased the Sentinel from publisher Seanne Gillen Saunders, assuming publishing duties for both papers Monday.

While management operations will be merged, the two papers will maintain their current staffs and separate offices.

"We're excited about the opportunity and want to produce a good newspaper for each community," Ron Loesch said.

Loesch said the sale has been in the works for about a year and he expects the two papers will be able to work in tandem to produce stronger news coverage.

"There are some benefits to having reporters in the two towns," he said. "We're going to be able to do more regional stories that appear in the two locations."

The Pilot's printing facility will get more usage by printing the Sentinel, which was previously printed in Ketchikan.

Loesch said he plans to upgrade technology in the Wrangell office and long-term plans may include redesigning the papers.

The Loesches have published the Pilot since 1976. The paper was founded in 1974 by then-Sentinel publisher Jamie Bryson.

The Sentinel was founded in 1902. Saunders had been publisher of the Sentinel since 1996. She purchased the paper from former publisher Larry Persily, who provided financial backing for the sale to the Pilot.

Wrangell has about 2,150 residents and Petersburg has a population of about 3,150. Wrangell is located about 30 miles southeast of Petersburg.



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