Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Holy Mackerel! Alaska Dispatch Is Buying The Anchorage Daily News From McClatchy For $34 Million

Many Alaskans are stunned -- and pleased -- at the announcement on April 8th, 2014 that Alaska Dispatch has reached an agreement with McClatchy Co. to purchase the Anchorage Daily News for $34 million. Or as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer described it, the salmon swallowed the whale. The deal, which will make the Daily News an Alaskan-owned paper for the first time in 35 years, will be finalized in May; McClatchy acquired an 80 percent ownership stake in the Daily News in January 1979. Here are links to detailed reports from the primary players:

-- Anchorage Daily News: "Alaska Dispatch to buy Anchorage Daily News from McClatchy Co."
-- Alaska Dispatch: "Alaska Dispatch to purchase Anchorage Daily News"
-- Alaska Dispatch: "Media watchers react to Alaska Dispatch's purchase of the Anchorage Daily News"
-- McClatchy official press release
-- KTUU Channel 2: "Online 'Alaska Dispatch' Buys 'Anchorage Daily News' Paper"
-- Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Salmon swallows whale: Website buys Anchorage Daily News, Alaska’s largest newspaper". Offers some background on the newspaper wars between ADN and the old Anchorage Times.

The financial muscle is being exercised by Alaska Dispatch's majority owner Alice Rogoff, who's a former chief financial officer of U.S. News and World Report and the wife of billionaire financier David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group. Tony Hopfinger of Dispatch will remain onboard as the executive editor. Current ADN President and Publisher Pat Doyle and ADN Senior Vice President and Editor Pat Dougherty are both retiring.

Summary: Alaska Dispatch will absorb and combine the Anchorage Daily News with their operations; the two websites will also be merged. Both use the Facebook commenting system. The building currently housing ADN will be sold, with the proviso that ADN be allowed to remain there as a tenant; KTUU reports that GCI Communications wants to buy the building. Alaska Dispatch will continue to maintain their separate office at the Merrill Field complex. Layoffs at ADN are unlikely; Alaska Dispatch plans no changes to the Anchorage Daily News’ staff, content or distribution. The total number of employees will grow to 120, and will include the press operators and delivery drivers currently employed by the ADN. This means there'll be a physical paper published every day.

Background: Over its history, the Anchorage Daily News established a reputation for quality journalism, winning two Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service in 1976 and 1989. But the shift to online journalism caused a loss in circulation and advertising, and after the parent company McClatchy bought the Knight-Ridder white elephant in 2006, ADN was forced to implement austerity measures incrementally during the past seven years, to include cutting features and paper size, and implemented a partial pay wall in December 2012. In recent months, the Daily News added staff and content, and completed a redesign of the newspaper in December that included new sections and features. Despite their troubles, ADN remained the "go-to" newspaper for broad-based news coverage in Alaska.

Alaska Dispatch was founded as an online-only news resource in 2008 by Tony Hopfinger and his wife, Amanda Coyne. They got a big financial boost in 2009 when Alice Rogoff became the majority owner and started interjecting serious money into the operation. While ADN provided a wider variety of news coverage than Dispatch, Dispatch quickly surpassed ADN in qualitative coverage of critical news stories. Of course, Dispatch had the advantage of not having a brick-and-mortar empire to support, but Dispatch's quality soon became preeminent in Alaska.

Alaska Reaction: Former KTUU Channel 2 News Director John Tracy, considered responsible for KTUU's overwhelming dominance of broadcast news in Alaska, is cautiously optimistic. He said “I didn't see this one coming. My impression was that the ADN was for the first time in several years adding staff, and recent changes to revamp the look were positive. I thought that they were on the rebound”. Well yes, ADN was on the rebound, but McClatchy's been dead weight since 2006, and ADN paid the price for its affiliation with them. Other comments to the various news websites indicate most people vary from pleased to absolutely elated.

Alice Rogoff discussed the sale with ADN employees and said, "When we at the Alaska Dispatch say we've come to realize the value of a newspaper in print, you better believe we've come to realize it. We didn't start out that way. But as we got to know this marketplace and community better, it is obvious that print plays an enormous role in a lot of people's lives."

1 comment:

  1. Rubenstein is more than a Billionaire, he's a member of the CFR and a the Council of 300. In short he's an Illuminati CAPO! I'm sure the new publication will have to tow the NWO propaganda line.