Longtime Homer News editor and reporter Michael Armstrong will retire from the paper next week. Armstrong’s last paper will be the Dec. 15 edition, and his last day will be Dec. 16.
To celebrate his retirement, an open house will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Homer News offices at 3482 Landings Street. Coffee and treats will be served.
Kenai Peninsula Clarion Editor Erin Thompson has been promoted to regional editor, and will edit both the Clarion and the Homer News. Emilie Springer has been hired as senior reporter at the Homer News. Reporter Charlie Menke will be leaving the Homer News on Friday, Dec. 9, to work as an instructional aide at Paul Banks Elementary School. The Homer News is currently seeking to hire a new reporter.
“After 23 years at the Homer News, I’m sad to leave the paper, but I’m excited to start a new phase in my life,” Armstrong said. “While I’m retiring as editor and full-time journalism, I will continue to write, with a focus on my second career as a short fiction writer and novelist.”
Armstrong, 66, started working at the Homer News in 1999, first as an editorial assistant and later as a reporter. He became editor in 2017, and helped steer the Homer News through several corporate changes after GateHouse Media bought the paper in 2017 and then sold the Homer News and its sister papers, the Peninsula Clarion and the Juneau Empire, to Sound Publishing Inc., an Everett, Washington, based media company.
Raised in Florida, Armstrong moved to Anchorage in 1979 and to Homer in 1994. He has a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from New College of Florida and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Before working at the Homer News, Armstrong worked as a freelance writer for the Anchorage Daily News and taught English, creative writing and dog mushing as an adjunct instructor for UAA. He also has a long career as a writer of science fiction and fantasy, and has published numerous short stories and five novels. His wife, Jenny Stroyeck, is a partner at the Homer Bookstore.
Springer’s academic background is in English and creative writing from Stanford University, marine policy from the University of Washington and finally anthropology and oral history with funding from the National Science Foundation’s Resilience and Adaptation Program from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She grew up in Homer, worked in various commercial fisheries with her primary family and eventually started working with storytelling history, again.
“It feels very well-rounded to finally settle into a position that will let me focus on so many components of Homer and the region of Alaska that are important to me,” Springer said. “With interests in commercial fisheries, climate transitions, opportunities in the local environment, the culture of the area in history and arts, I’m excited to bring stories together from all of these areas and have a structured way to share them with our community.”