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Pop culture has done a lot to romanticize the notion of a captain going down with his ship. Now, that might be an honorable decision once you’ve gotten everybody to the lifeboats. But if your crew’s still onboard, it’s the captain’s duty to keep the ship afloat at all costs. Even if that means ceding control of your boat to someone better equipped to stay its course. Okay, let me back up for a minute, because this metaphor is getting unnecessarily dramatic.

George Darling here, longtime Editor in Chief and owner of the Kensington Chronicle, writing to explain why I’m not the paper’s owner anymore. As many of you have no doubt already heard, I recently sold the Kensington Chronicle to JH Media. After considering all the options, I found this to be the best one for everyone involved. But just because it was the right choice, the only choice, doesn’t make it any easier for me, or for my family. The Chronicle has been owned and operated by a Darling since my ancestor Kensington founded it in 1862, after all.

Now, the question on a lot of your lips is probably, how did it all come to this? Well, in recent months, I’ve been candid on the Twitter about the paper’s financial difficulties. And, truth be told, I wasn’t making the situation out to be quite as dire as it even was. We were maybe just a few months out from me having to close the doors to the Chronicle for good. And the fact of the matter is, I’ve got my employees to think about, some of my closest friends and kin, and some of the best newspapermen and women that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. They’re the crew members I talked about in the boat metaphor, the ones I can’t bear to see go down with the ship with me. But even more than that, The Kensington Chronicle is a Neverland institution. When we’re at our best, we’re providing the kind of relevant, hyperlocal news that I truly believe every Neverland resident has an inalienable right to. So even if there wasn’t a whole staff of people whose livelihoods depended on the paper staying open, I couldn’t be so prideful as to deprive my community of its lifeblood just because I don’t want to see another man’s name on the masthead.

Mr. Jas Hook, owner of JH Media, and now, by extension, the Kensington Chronicle, has a reputation as a bit of a shark in the corporate world, but I think that reputation is undeserved. For the better part of the past year, my daughter has been working at JH Media’s corporate headquarters in New York City, and what Jas has done for her since she got there, both personally and professionally, is something I don’t think I’ll ever be adequately able to thank him for. And this was by no means a hostile takeover, not by a longshot. I wouldn’t even say it was the best of some bad options. Ultimately, I believe it’ll be a privilege to work for and with Mr. Hook, and that the JH Media name will give our local rag more resources than we’ve ever had before. I’ll still be in charge of the day-to-day operations at the paper, and I’ll tell you this much: Not that much is going to change. Not if I have anything to say about it. Guess pretty soon we’ll see just how much my word still counts around here.

Oh, and lastly, a few of you have been asking after John. I gotta tell you, he’s taken the news of the Chronicle sale harder than anyone. Harder than I ever could have anticipated. Suffice to say, me writing this week’s column was about more than me wanting to have a heart-to-heart with all of you loyal readers out there; John is also not in a great headspace at the moment. I suspect he’ll resume his regularly-scheduled editorials soon, as he starts to come to grips with the new status quo around here. He’ll be okay, we’ve weathered worse than this. But thank you all for your kinds letters, on his behalf and mine.  We’re all still here, and we’re going to work just as hard for you as we did before. Because when you get right down to it, no matter who’s signing our paychecks, The Kensington Chronicle is about Neverland. And outside of my family, there’s nothing in this world I love more.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on August 31, 2015

Kensington Darling: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

My dear Neverlandians, just last week we celebrated the 154th anniversary of the founding of Neverland, Ohio, by J.M. Barrie. Every year, my brother Michael, my sister Wendy and our friend Peter Pan (of Peter’s Panels fame) go on an expedition, retracing the path of J.M. Barrie and the people who originally settled our town. This year, we were happy that many of you, our dear friends and neighbors, accompanied us. And this time around, we decided to immortalize our journey on Twitter. As I mentioned in my editorial last week, the will very shortly be adding a Storify section to our site, to highlight many of the local stories that make Neverland such a wonderful place to live. As soon as that is up and running, we will be posting an archive of our expedition, for those of you who were unable to attend. During our tour, I mentioned in passing the name Kensington Darling, my ancestor and this newspaper’s namesake. Back in 1862, Kensington founded this very paper, and in honor of our town’s 154th anniversary, I thought I’d take a few minutes to tell you about this seminal figure in Neverland’s history.

Kensington Darling was born and raised on the streets of London, living in poverty for most of his formative years. At the age of 5, Kensington got a job as a newspaper boy, where he worked all throughout college to be able to pay his tuition. After studying literature and business at university, a 25-year-old Kensington Darling set sail for America, the land of opportunity, where he hoped to fulfill his dream of owning his own newspaper. Kensington landed in Boston, and he quickly discovered that jobs were in short supply. He traveled up and down the Eastern seaboard pedaling his own brand of journalism, one that focused on the people and their stories rather than just the cold hard facts. But when Kensington was faced with rejection after rejection, he was forced to buckle under and take a job as a laborer for a group of settlers heading west from Washington D.C. And as many of you no doubt have already guessed, this band of intrepid pioneers were the same settlers that our beloved J.M. Barrie saved from a pack of black bears in 1860, the folks who would soon become our town founders.

While the Kensington Chronicle has been an institution in Neverland for almost the entirety of the town’s existence, Kensington Darling is perhaps best remembered by the world at large not as the founder of our hometown newspaper, but as the human race’s first ambassador to the fairy people. After stumbling onto a Gentle Place he later dubbed the Garden of Light, Kensington became the first man of record to discover the existence of fairies. And in so doing, he put our fledgling town on the map, and reminded people the world over that the Earth truly is a magical place. Selling this scoop of a lifetime netted Kensington enough money to bankroll the local newspaper that he had long been dreaming of, and the Kensington Chronicle has been owned and operated by a Darling ever since. Kensington built this paper from the ground up, and made it his mission to tell stories of the people and for the people of Neverland until the day he died.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on May 13, 2014