Alameda Sun Enters its 20s

File photo &nbsp&nbsp Of the early Alameda Sun staff, only Eric J. Kos, far left, remains on the payroll today. Continuing from left: Sharon Reid, Eric Turowski, Solomon Russell, Julia Park Tracey, Ed Moser, Louisa Bryant, Laurel Yeates, Woody Minor and founding publisher, James R. Spratley III.

Alameda Sun Enters its 20s

We thought we would stand the newspaper industry on its head. Cast off worker bees from the era of mass media consolidation, in the summer of 2001, myself and three friends combined our skills to construct a new corporation from the ground up: Stellar Media Group Inc., publishing the Alameda Sun, a newspaper solely focused on the City of Alameda.

We had seen it happen: beloved local papers swallowed up into larger regional papers that lost touch with their local community and stopped carrying information of interest to that community. It could be done better, here in Alameda.

We wouldn’t have executives showing up in Mercedes and practicing their putts in the board room. Each of us scratched together what we could and with an initial investment of $35,000 started this newspaper, now entering its 20th year of publishing. The first edition hit the streets on Sept. 28, 2001, delayed three weeks because of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. For months following that, the owners: Jim Spratley, Eric Turowski, Julia Park Tracey and myself earned zero take-home dollars. For months we squabbled over how the paper would survive, if it would survive.

About half way through all the other founders discovered better opportunities elsewhere and my longtime friend, business and writing partner Dennis Evanosky stepped in and took over the critical role of my personal sounding board and voice of reason, leading the paper into its second decade.
So many people have helped made this paper a success. I’m grateful to the many wonderful talents I’ve met over the years. Both paid staff and unpaid contributors help make the paper this beautiful patchwork quilt of community each week.

We attempt to maintain high standards and because we don’t wheel and deal on the golf course, we are unaffiliated with any politician, other corporation or news outlet. We remain fiercely loyal to local Alameda news and feel mainstream media lost its way when it stopped caring about its local audience.

It is our hope that our newspaper can serve as an example of what a community can create when local ownership and readership is engaged in creating a better community. Thanks for joining in the experiment!

After 20 years we will be raising our subscription rate for only the second time in company history. We are now asking $50 per year to have the Sun mailed each Thursday. You may still subscribe through the end of October at $25.