Graphic art by Ted Amoroso and Mike Mera for the Boulevard Sentinel

Boulevard Sentinel to close

2023 Business Editions Featured January

Dear readers of the Boulevard Sentinel,

After a 26-year run, the Boulevard Sentinel is closing. In the weeks to come, we will be finalizing details of the closure, including reaching out personally to many of the readers, sources and advertisers who have been the backbone of this long adventure in hyper-local journalism.

Bill Hendrickson, the publisher of the Boulevard Sentinel (and my husband), is retiring; a well-earned, richly deserved milestone. Ditto for Mary Lynch, who has worn every hat at the paper, from chief financial officer to administrator, from reporter to copy editor. I will continue writing and teaching. I especially look forward to expanding the writing workshops I conduct annually at Yale and other institutions.

Bill and I, along with my brother Tim Tritch, took over the Sentinel from its founder, Tom Topping, in late 2015. When Tim was sidelined by illness a year later, Bill and I carried on. Our involvement with the Boulevard Sentinel dovetailed with our return to the Northeast Los Angeles area. I grew up in Eagle Rock but had lived in New York City since graduating from UCLA. Bill is a native New Yorker who had dreamed of living in California since his days at Stanford and became enamored with L.A. during our many trips here to visit my family.

We are pleased with what we have accomplished at the Boulevard Sentinel.

One of our aims was to find a business model that would support local journalism. Bill developed a healthy roster of advertisers in print and online. At its peak in early 2020, advertising in the Boulevard Sentinel was a lively, profitable mix: Several of the advertisers were local businesses that had advertised in the paper since its founding; several others had been with the paper for over a decade. Bill added more local businesses as well as regional, nonprofit, government and corporate advertisers.

Then came the pandemic lockdown, which wreaked havoc on advertising. In April 2020, we had to pivot to publishing online only because most of the 300 locations where we distributed the print edition were shuttered. The economics of online advertising are not nearly as favorable as print. Moreover, the lockdown understandably caused many advertisers to pull back. At the same time, event advertising dried up and has been slow to resume.  

Yet, we created some of our best journalism during and after the lockdown, including our coverage of the pandemic’s impact on NELA, Metro’s plan for bus rapid transit in Eagle Rock, the local elections of 2020 and 2022, anti-Asian hate in NELA, the establishment in NELA of tiny homes for the homeless, Scholl Canyon and the sale of the Eagle Rock Plaza.

These stories are in addition to others we brought to our readers over the years. We exposed and thereby helped to waylay backroom dealings among city and neighborhood honchos that sought to build a huge storage facility in Eagle Rock over the objections of just about everyone. We also covered the sagas in Eagle Rock of the Bekins estate and Pillarhenge. We covered the escalation of burglaries on Colorado Boulevard, the gentrification of Highland Park, the downfall of Jose Huizar, high school graduations, local real estate and the concerns and achievements of NELA’s students, artists, senior citizens, volunteers and business owners.

Much of the journalism we have provided in recent years is thanks to the NELA Neighborhood Reporting Partnership, a professional collaboration between the Boulevard Sentinel and The Occidental, the campus newspaper of Occidental College. Under the partnership, Oxy student journalists pitched, reported and wrote stories about NELA (often in English and Spanish) that were co-published in the Boulevard Sentinel and The Occidental. The Oxy students and their faculty adviser, Barbara Thomas, have been invaluable partners, resourceful and responsive, dedicated to fact and committed to local journalism.

Which brings me to my final point: This is a tough business but a rewarding one because local journalism enriches communities. It provides information and context, fosters debate and civic participation, raises questions and issues and, in that way, lays down markers by which readers can hold elected officials and other local leaders accountable.

Take my word for it. What the powers-that-be want you to know is just the surface of what really goes on. We’ve scratched that surface for seven years. We didn’t crack the code on a forever business model for local journalism, but we had notable success with our pre-pandemic print-plus-online advertising strategy and our partnership with Oxy.  

And, most important, we succeeded in bringing you news and features that you would not find anywhere else.

Yours truly,

Teresa A. Hendrickson
Editor
Boulevard Sentinel

T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times.

T.A. Hendrickson
T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times.
https://boulevardsentinel.com

25 thoughts on “Boulevard Sentinel to close

  1. So sad to hear this. I was a neighbor of Tom and I loved his and the paper’s connection to the community. It was/is local real journalism. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. RIP the late, great Boulevard Sentinel. You will be missed and mourned.

  2. This is sad news, indeed. As “Bryan” (above) has suggested — maybe there is someone else (with some deep pockets to get through the starting up process [again]) who could assume the legacy of The Boulevard Sentinel. Let us hope so.
    I always looked forward to being in businesses in the area which distributed the print edition, including BMPP and Casa Bianca restaurants, and really missed it during the pandemic era. I had hopes that the online edition was working for you, but I guess it wasn’t. I hope at the least that you can save a document (or PDF) copy of your issues that can be filed with the Central Library — or at least the Eagle Rock branch, so that your legacy of articles can be accessed in the future.
    So, as the saying goes, when a member of Royalty passes — “The Sentinel is dead; Long live The Sentinel!” And thanks for at least giving it a try in the new world of electronica.

  3. Bravo! It’s been one of the great honors of my life to know and work with both you and Bill, and to do my small part to serve this community that I love. Thank you for practicing the intellectual and moral rigor in local journalism that every community deserves.

  4. Such a wonderful contribution to our community! Congrats on retirement. Will miss the sentinel but will see you around town for sure! Thanks for all the support you’ve show the small businesses it means the world

  5. Very sorry to hear that Diogenes’ lantern is going out. Thank you for your years of keeping Eagle Rockers apprised of what was happening in our community.

  6. I miss you already. Well, I miss you MORE now. I always loved picking up the latest edition of the Boulevard Sentinel at Armon’s or whatever local business I happened to be patronizing that day. When the pandemic hit, we lost so much … including the hard copy of this wonderful publication (which made me so sad). I am so grateful that you all toiled so long and hard for our benefit. Eagle Rock will not be the same without you.

  7. I’m so saddened to see this happen, first the northeast newspapers left and I was excited about the boulevard sentinel, I love to read the paper copies,and now I get it on my tablet, I will miss getting the local news from your paper, I know it’s hard work to put out a paper and I so hope someone will want to keep it going ! The best to everyone who made it possible. 🗞🗞😢

  8. As a former lifelong Eagle Rocker now living in Lagrange Georgia , I will miss the Boulevard Sentinel, my link to “home”. I used to look forward to picking up a print issue at Tritch on my regular visits for “parts” to keep the old house going. Finding you on line after our move has been a fine way to link back to Eagle Rock and NE LA. Thank you, you’ve done a wonderful job of keeping the light on.

  9. I’m grateful for having been featured in the Boulevard Sentinel over the years. Thank you for keeping the publication alive as long as you did. There have been many great stories about our community and the people who live in it. You will be missed. Wishing you the best in retirement.

  10. A real bummer… we’ll miss you and Bill, the Eagle Rock community news and the truth about it all. Happy days ahead for you…

  11. Thank you, Teresa and Bill, for all you did with the Sentinel, all you have done to make this neighborhood a better place. We all of us in Eagle Rock benefitted from your work, even folks who never read the paper. It has been a most instructive pleasure watching you at work – in print, at City Hall meetings, investigating malfeasance. I’m right grateful for the chance to’ve known you both. This is a mighty tough time for newspapers, for investigative journalism, for folks scratching the surface for truth all over. My dojo was once home to the original Eagle Rock Sentinel when it moved here from Highland Park in 1937. I’ve taken the liberty of printing up your letter and putting it up next to a picture of your ancestor newspaper, part of the history of this town. Thank you for helping us along.

  12. Thank you for all your hard work to keep the paper alive. I loved getting the print edition but enjoyed the on line version as well. Sad to see this neighborhood newspaper close its doors. Will miss it.

  13. You and the Sentinel will be missed. Thank you for all your hard work in providing us with the information and events in our Community of Eagle Rock. Stay well and enjoy your retirement.

  14. Sorry to hear the closing of the Sentinel. I will miss my connection to the community I lived & worked in for a significant part of my adult life.
    Thank you Bill & Teresa for all your hard work, it was a pleasure knowing you two…“you done well my friends”.

  15. As more and more local journalism is in jeopardy, we as a community lose the heart of who we are in a sprawling metropolis. The larger papers won’t cover what you did, and so much of real journalism has died online, as is evident of all the conspiracies that have sprung up by so-called “journalists.” Thank you for all you’ve accomplished in these last 7 years. It appears that the pandemic has cost us yet another casualty. I wish there was some eager journalism student who’d want to take over after you’ve created so much. You will be missed more than you know.

  16. I stumbled upon this paper at Craft Beer Cellar (now Talon Tap) back when we first moved to Eagle Rock and have been hooked ever since. Thank you for such a valuable contribution to the community. I will miss the Boulevard Sentinel tremendously.

  17. Thank you, Teresa & Bill, for your years of excellent journalism & endeavoring to keep local news & thought alive….& delivering “real” investigative journalism alive. It keep the “connection” of the grass roots folk alive. Glad the ER Kiwanis could give u all some recognition at last years Division Awards & wish we had created more articles together, such as the Kiwanis TEENS Mental Health Health Art Classes at the Center for the Arts. There was so much more that the community could have partnered with you about……& certainly still needs. However, you guys need rest & retirement…..& this town needs to look for new ways to communicate! Thank you & all the best!

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