Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Alaska Dispatch Is Buying The Anchorage Daily News For $34 million

Not sure if you still have time to offer McClatchy (the parent corporation) $35 million.  I suspect not.  

I just got this email from Strategies360 Alaska a firm with principles [principals] David Shurtleff (former KSKA news guy), Ethan Berkowitz (former Demomcratic state legislator and congressional and gubernatorial candidate), and Taylor Bickford (former executive director of the Alaska Redistricting Board).  Berkowitz wasn't on the communication, but a person I don't know, a fourth principle, Aileen Cole.  It's part of a national firm that does research, public relations, and advocacy.  (Bickford seems to be, for example, the spokesperson for the proposition to make marijuana legal in Alaska.)
[Update 5pm:  A close relative seemingly disagreeing with the Supreme Court's belief that corporations are people, suggested they couldn't have principles.  I'm not sure we can't say that a firm with principled leaders has good principles, but what I meant was principals.]

Since I don't know  more at the moment, I'll just give you their press release, it gives lots of the details:

Alaska Dispatch Publishing LLC to Purchase Anchorage Daily News
ANCHORAGE, AK—APRIL 8, 2014—Alaska Dispatch Publishing LLC, the owner and publisher of Alaska Dispatch, has reached an agreement to purchase the Anchorage Daily News from The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI).
Founded in 2008, Alaska Dispatch is an award-winning site at the forefront of the national movement toward independent online news. Alice Rogoff, a longtime supporter of journalism and a former chief financial officer of U.S. News and World Report, became the majority owner of Alaska Dispatch LLC in 2009. Since then, the operation has employed writers, editors, and a full-time sales staff. Rogoff is the publisher and chief executive while co-founder Tony Hopfinger is the executive editor and president.
"We founded Alaska Dispatch to ensure the future of quality journalism in Alaska," said Hopfinger. "We've established ourselves as a leader in investigative reporting, public service journalism, and in offering a variety of opinions and perspectives from around the state, and we've been recognized with regional and national awards. We're proud of what we have accomplished in the last five years, and we couldn't be more excited about this new venture."
The Anchorage Daily News, the largest newspaper in Alaska, has a long history of distinguished journalism, winning two Pulitzer Prizes for public service in 1976 and 1989. “We’re excited to add the many talented and accomplished employees of the Anchorage Daily News to our team,” said Rogoff.
“The Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Dispatch play vital roles in our great state,” said Rogoff. “By merging these operations, we can serve as a stronger, even more comprehensive resource for Alaskans for their news and information. Our mission is to offer a level of coverage never before seen in Alaska history, and to offer it to readers across the state through a variety of mediums.
"We expect to publish news and commentary for all Alaskans, from oil field workers on the North Slope to Southeast fishermen; from those whose roots go back thousands of years to newcomers fresh off the plane; from our biggest cities to our most remote villages and everywhere in between. We want to provide a true public forum where Alaskans from all walks of life can come together to help build our community.”
The purchase price is $34 million, payable at closing, which is anticipated to occur in May of 2014.
The transaction covers the Anchorage Daily News, their website adn.com, and the newspaper’s real property and operations in Anchorage. After the purchase is completed, the real estate assets of the Anchorage Daily News will be sold by Alaska Dispatch to a private local buyer. The Anchorage Daily News will continue operations as a tenant from its East Anchorage location.
Alaska Dispatch was co-founded by Tony Hopfinger, Amanda Coyne and Todd Hopfinger in 2008. In 2009, Alice Rogoff, a longtime supporter of journalism and a former chief financial officer of U.S. News and World Report, became the majority owner of Alaska Dispatch LLC, and the operation expanded to employ writers, editors, and a full-time sales staff. Rogoff is the publisher and chief executive while Hopfinger is the executive editor and president.
Pt Capital, based in Anchorage, serves as the buyer's financial adviser.

I do know that the ADN has been struggling and the Dispatch, which only has an online presence (to my knowledge) has been aggressive and covering Alaska news more comprehensively than the ADN.

[UPDATE 3:22pm:  From Reuters:

The sale of the newspaper to Alaska Dispatch Publishing marks the first time a local news upstart has purchased the local daily newspaper in its market.
Alice Rogoff, publisher of the online-only Alaska Dispatch, said the deal was meant to serve Alaskans, many of whom still read a print newspaper.
"Advertisers still view it as a useful medium," she said.
Rogoff, a former chief financial officer of U.S. News and World Report, said Alaska Dispatch plans to produce more news in print and online with the purchase of the newspaper.
Upstart?  Why not just say "online' publisher?  

The Reuters report also quotes McClatchy's president:
"We weren't looking to sell the Daily News, but after Alaska Dispatch Publishing approached us, we saw advantages to local ownership in this case and opportunities for consolidation that would strengthen both news organizations," Talamantes said.
Local ownership is a great goal, but the person who's been paying for the Dispatch, as I've understood it, Alice Rogoff, lives in New York.  But the co-founders and co-owners are Alaskans.  [UPDATE 4/9/ 2:30pm:  A reader with an Alaska Dispatch email account wrote me to say that Alice Rogoff has gradually moved to Alaska over the last ten years.  And has been a full time Alaskan for a while now. And she lived in DC, not New York (but then the East Coast is all the same thing, right?) Big mistake on my part - my apologies.  The Dispatch has a story about her today.]

1 comment:

  1. This might be bad news for the Joe Miller for Senate campaign. Book 'em Drop Zone.


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