The Valley Independent Sentinel is a weekday publication that covers all of the latest and most relevant news that happens I the lower Naugatuck Valley of Connecticut. While it is not a completely original idea, it has been over 20 years since the lower Naugatuck Valley has had any type of daily news publication that they have been able to call their own.
Back in 1992, lower Naugatuck Valley would experience an event that would end up being called ‘The Christmas Eve massacre.’ On this night in 1992, the Evening Sentinel, a local afternoon edition of the paper that came out on a daily basis, would end up going out of business. The unfortunate part about this is that the Evening Sentinel had been covering the news and spreading it around the Valley for over a century.
While there was no dedicated production covering the news in only the lower Naugatuck Valley since the Evening Sentinel shuttered, there is now the Valley Independent Sentinel. Launching on June 22, 2009, the online-only, non-profit site reports all of the relevant news that happens in the Derby, Seymour, Ansonia, Shelton, and Oxford counties.
Able to secure a grant for $500,000 from the Knight Foundation, the Valley Independent Sentinel is proudly brought to the lower Naugatuck Valley through the combined efforts of the Online Journalism Project, as well as the Valley Community Foundation. After the two groups teamed up with the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, they were able to secure their grant.
Only funded by that grant in the beginning, the non-profit Valley Independent Sentinel was able to stay up and running for over two years.
Moving forwards, the Valley Independent Sentinel was able to secure a second grant through the Connecticut Health Foundation, another four grants through the Katharine Matthies Foundation, and another two multi-year grants through the Valley Community Foundation. On top of just being funded by grants, they have also received many donations from their loyal fan base of local readers and supporters.
Moving into the future, the Valley Independent Sentinel plans on staying true to its non-profit origins, promising to look for more opportunities to collect grant money to help keep the website reporting all the local topics in the lower Naugatuck Valley region. On top of that, they are working on setting up a collection of tax-deductible contributions from the people who not only live in the area, but like to stay informed about what the latest news is as well.
Staffed with just two full-time workers, the Valley Independent Sentinel has won over 34 different awards since the site was started back in 2009, from the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional journalists.
While it may not technically be a newspaper publication as the Evening Sentinel of Lower Naugatuck Valley’s past, the Valley Independent Sentinel has digitalized the important, relevant news that needs to be reported to those who live in the region. Hopefully they will be able to continue reporting the news to those who live in the lower Naugatuck Valley region.