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Contributed by Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records: State Library of Arizona
Conceived in the minds of David A. Gordon and C. L. Minor in Arizona City in 1871, the weekly independent Arizona Free Press [LCCN: sn94050641] lasted less than a year before changing its masthead to the Arizona Sentinel. In 1873 Arizona City changed its name to Yuma, and, on April 5 of that year, Minor became sole editor of the Sentinel. Minor took the separation of politics and journalism seriously, to the point that a corrupt elected official allegedly shot at Minor while he was working in the Sentinel office. After the incident, Minor declared that "the official character and condition of every man was public property and that it was the duty of every journalist to expose the unfaithful public servant." According to William H. Lyon in Those Old Yellow Dog Days: Frontier Journalism in Arizona, 1859-1912, Minor's statement typified the uneasy relationship between editors and politicians of the time.
Being ideologically independent came at a price. Over the next several years, the Arizona Sentinel switched editors frequently, struggling financially as it continued to depend on contributions to keep alive. This changed when the paper was bought by the Sentinel Publishing Company in 1881. Under the management of John W. Dorrington, the Sentinel flourished as a moderate Republican publication for the next thirty years. Dorrington's editorial dominance was so commanding that Yuma became known as the "newspaper graveyard" as rival periodicals started up and then quickly died off. In 1911, the Sentinel merged with the Yuma Examiner [LCCN: sn95060875] to become the Arizona Sentinel and Yuma Weekly Examiner. William Harold Shorey took over the reins as editor in 1912, and three years later the Sentinel merged with the Yuma Southwest to become the Arizona Sentinel Yuma Southwest. A little over a year later, the paper switched its masthead back to the Arizona Sentinel. It kept the title until 1918 when the paper consolidated with the Yuma Examiner to become the daily Yuma Examiner and Arizona Sentinel [LCCN: sn00060019].
The paper moved from a daily to semiweekly in 1920, then became a daily once again later that same year. Various mergers and title changes occurred over the next seven years. In late 1928, under the editorial management of Roy Dennis, the paper split into two separate publications: the Yuma Examiner and the Arizona Sentinel [LCCN: sn95060890]. In 1935, the papers merged with the Yuma Morning Sun [LCCN: sn95060889] to become the Yuma Daily Sun and the Yuma Arizona Sentinel [LCCN: sn84027566], with Karl E. Allen acting as editor. The Daily Sun and the Sentinel combined as the Yuma Daily Sun [LCCN: sn90005060] in 1987, becoming simply the Sun [LCCN: sn2001060098] in 2001. The Sun continues in daily circulation today.
Arizona Sentinel Titles Available on AMP
The Arizona Sentinel
Years of publication: 1872-1911, Years digitized: 1872-1911
Arizona Sentinel and Yuma Weekly Examiner
Years of publication: 1911-1915, Years digitized: 1911-1915
Arizona Sentinel Yuma Southwest
Years of publication: 1915-1916, Years digitized: 1915-1916
Arizona Sentinel Yuma Southwest
Years of publication: 1916-1918, Years digitized: 1916-1918