The Latter-day Sentinel, an online publication focusing on Inland Northwest news for the LDS community, recently celebrated its sixth year of operation.
The Sentinel was founded by Dennis West in June of 2009. West had a background as a graphic designer, and thought of the idea for a website news service, modeled after a successful San Diego LDS newspaper.
“The goal was to create a reliable outlet for topics that affected the Inland Northwest LDS community,” says Craig Howard, the editor and one of the original members of the Sentinel.
Howard was working as an editor for the Spokane Valley News Herald before he was approached by West with the idea. They decided on a newspaper-style format for the site, featuring different sections including news, arts, service, sports, business, and a family-friendly recreation guide.
The site features local Mormons who are committed to making a difference, bringing together people inside and outside of the LDS church. With more than 50,000 people in the LDS Spokane Temple District, a region that covers Spokane, North Idaho, and some of Montana, the Sentinel unites people that are separated by quite a distance, said Howard.
He said the Sentinel helps put a human face on followers of the faith.
“I think there is a perception in some circles that LDS people can be somewhat isolated. We wanted to address that stigma and I think we have. I talk to friends, who are not LDS, who tell me they never knew Mormons were so involved in the community,” he said.
The site focuses on stories of people overcoming adversity and accomplishing extraordinary things. In 2012, for instance, Howard wrote a story about BYU head Basketball coach Dave Rose’s battle against cancer and their improbable first round win against Iona in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.
Howard says he was moved by the story, even though he jokes “I did let him know that I would still root for Gonzaga whenever they played BYU, though. I think he understood.”
Simply put, the Sentinel features stories that inspire.
“I look for stories that deliver an enriching message,” said Howard, “people who have overcome tragedy and trials through their faith, efforts that identify a need in the community and rally to help, missionaries who strive to teach the words of Christ with kindness and charity.”
The publication isn’t just for those who members of the LDS church, however.
“I think the Sentinel has become a welcome refuge for readers seeking positive news,” Howard says. “I hope non-LDS readers enjoy the Sentinel as well. I think there’s something there for everyone.”
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