Bill and Teresa Hendrickson took the helm of The Boulevard Sentinel, the monthly newspaper covering Northeast Los Angeles, in 2015.
The couple were joined by Teresa’s brother, Tim, and a small group of workers to continue the work of Tom Topping, who founded the paper in 1996.
However, last month the paper announced that it was closing down.
An excerpt from the announcement reads:
It’s happening, in part, because Bill Hendrickson, the publisher, is ready to retire, as is Mary Lynch, who has held every job at the organization. But on top of that, the money has just gotten too tight, said Teresa Hendrickson.
Even before the pandemic, the paper wasn’t earning enough to pay professionals an appropriate rate, Bill Hendrickson said. Then COVID hit. The Sentinel had to abandon its print edition to publish only online. Advertising income became much thinner, Teresa Hendrickson said.
Still, the former New Yorkers adapted to life running a community news source. Bill’s real estate background came in handy as he covered local development.
For Teresa, the shift from the New York Times editorial board was a different sort of transition.
“In some ways, it’s much more difficult to do local journalism,” she said, “because you can run into the people that you’re writing about at the Sprouts, and you have to be prepared for that.”
If she had any regret, she said, it’s that the paper wasn’t able to dig deeper into some of the stories.
“Northeast Los Angeles is a microcosm of everything that happens in L.A., even more broadly, with homelessness and environmental issues, with senior citizen issues, housing, gentrification, ethnic diversity,” Teresa said, “It’s so rich in stories and history. It really is an area that deserves the kind of coverage we tried to bring to it.”