Roadtrippin’ 2023: Alaska’s first attempt to chronicle daily life
SITKA, Alaska (KTUU) - Sitka is home to the first newspaper published in Alaska. In 1868, Thomas Murphy embarked on the first attempt at chronicle daily life in Alaska by hand-writing a newspaper he called the Sitka Times.
“Right after the transfer in 1867, a local entrepreneur started a newspaper which he wrote out by hand. He hired a couple of scribes, I guess you’d call them, and they would hand write a few pages of Sitka news,” Sitka Sentinel editor Thad Poulsen said.
Murphy was interested in the development of Alaska, so the paper was filled with advertisements and only a small amount of news. The paper ended up only running for four issues, but Murphy later brought in a printing press. Hal Spackman, executive director of the Sitka Historical Society, said that speaks to the creativity of Alaskans at the time.
“You know there wasn’t a press of any kind, someone had handwritten that thing and I don’t know how many copies he had out there, but it shows the struggles and ingenuity people had to use early on,” Spackman said.
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