Friday, September 22, 2017

By-Lines Alaska Dispatch Readers Won't See Anymore At The ADN [UPDATED AGAIN]

[UPDATE 9/24/17:  Charles Wohlforth has filled in a lot more information in his column this morning at the ADN - personal comments on colleagues he's worked with.]

The Alaska Dispatch News had a story Thursday (Sept 21, 2017) about layoffs at their newspaper.  We all know that the paper has been going through bankruptcy and is struggling to survive and that the new owners are trying to keep it going.  So, we were expecting some cuts and that hard decisions would have to be made - as the article says.

Two things struck me about the article:

1.  The new owners wouldn't say how many people were let go
A "significant" number of employees have been laid off at Alaska Dispatch News as part of a restructuring under the company's new owners.
Every department in the company — the newsroom, advertising, circulation, production and finance — was affected. The job reductions began last week and continued through Wednesday. Layoffs in the newsroom included editors, reporters and others.
"It's a significant change in the size of the newspaper," said Ryan Binkley, one of the new owners of ADN. He would not say how many people in total were let go.
The Binkley family, who bought the ADN, are more experienced in business than running newspapers so I understand going with their business instincts to keep things close to the vest.  But newspapers report on other businesses all the time and when there are layoffs, they push for a number or at least a percentage of people being laid off.  It's a matter of public interest to know how something like this is going to affect the local economy.  Newspapers should be models of transparency.  After all, other companies can now point to the ADN example when they decline to give ADN reporters this sort of information.

And how much is a reporter going to push her new boss to get more information, especially when the boss has just laid off a 'significant number' of her colleagues.  She doesn't want to get to the point where he says, "I told you 'no' now back off or I'll add you to the list."

Binkleys:  Bite the bullet and be good newspaper owners and set the example for other companies that your paper will be covering.  The information is going to come out eventually anyway - especially if you are a media organization.

2.  They didn't tell us which reporters', photographers' and others' by-lines we won't see any more were.

Publishing the names of people laid off may be a sensitive issue.  Shouldn't the employees involved have the right to let people know on their own terms?  Generally, I'd agree.  But in this case, we're talking about people whose names appear on by-lines every day in the newspaper (and, of course, online.)

Should readers just start guessing when names stop appearing?  "Oh, maybe this guy got laid off."

So, when I got a chance to talk to someone who worked at the ADN yesterday, I asked.  The person gave me a list of names, including some involved in less visible positions, like copy editors.  I didn't post yesterday because I wanted to get confirmation from another source.  I did that today.  For all but two of the names.  I got through to one, who confirmed, but not the other.  But he had on his Twitter account that he was a "former reporter."  I was told that Lisa Demer has posted on her Facebook account (not her public one so I couldn't confirm it) that a total of 17 were let go. [UPDATED 9/22/17 5pm - Lisa let me see her post.  In part (she goes on to pay tribute to all the people who were laid off) she wrote:
"One-third of the newsroom was cut — 17 newsroom positions gone — and the rest of ADN experienced something similar."

So here's a list of some of the people I know about, whose work appeared regularly in the ADN, some very prominently and frequently, others not so much.  I'm leaving out copy editors and advertising people who aren't directly responsible for telling us what is happening in our state. I must acknowledge though, that while their names aren't common knowledge, copy editors certainly influence how we see and read the stories.

Below is a list of people who work(ed) for the ADN.  You might have noticed these lists aren't showing up in current editions of the ADN in print or online.  I was able to find an old one online.  (It says 2012 and updated 2016, scroll down past the gibberish.) Then I went through ADN online bylines to get as many current folks as I could.  If you click on someone's by-line you get all their articles and a brief description of the reporter.  That's where I got my descriptions.  I put the folks laid off on top and bolded their names.

I'm also putting up the whole list (that I could gather, I may have missed some people) so you have a sense of the large impact of the layoffs.  These are the people whose names appear on articles or photos or illustrations only.

Those Laid Off:  
*Rich Mauer - Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and more recently a news editor [Updated: Sorry, I lost this name as I was reformatting the original list.]
*Columnist Dermot Cole, who lives in Fairbanks, has been a reporter, editor and author. For 40 years, he has written extensively about Alaska politics and history. 
*Yereth Rosen has been a journalist in Alaska since 1987. For most of that time, she was the sole Alaska-based reporter for Reuters. She has been reporting on energy issues, the environment, politics and all things Alaska  from oil spills to sled-dog races. She enjoys running, skiing and other outdoors pursuits. She lives in Anchorage with her family. 
*Erik Hill has been with ADN since December of 1984. Before that, he worked at The Kansas City Star following stops in Jacksonville, Florida, and Charleston, West Virginia. Originally from Oregon, Hill earned degrees at Stanford University and Ohio University. Memorable assignments have included the Exxon Valdez oil spill and several Iditarods. 
*Pamela Dunlap-Shohl - [couldn't find her description, but she does most of the charts that graphically help tell the stories hidden in numbers.]  
[UPDATE Sept 25, 2017 - I'm told now that Bob Hallinan was NOT laid off so I'm moving him down to the other list]  *Bob Hallinen has been a photojournalist in Alaska since the 1980s and has traveled extensively around the state. 
*Jerzy Shedlock is a reporter. A graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage, he worked at the Peninsula Clarion before coming to Alaska Dispatch News. [I couldn't get a second confirmation on this one, but his twitter account says "former reporter."] 
*Rugile Kaladyte is a visual journalist for Alaska Dispatch News. 
*Doyle Woody grew up in East Anchorage and is in his fourth decade at the ADN. He's been covering hockey since the Ice Age 
*Jeannette Lee Falsey joined Alaska Dispatch News as a business reporter in 2015. She has worked as a staff writer for The Associated Press and as a researcher for the federal government's Alaska gasline office in Anchorage and Washington, D.C..
Some of these folks were getting ready to retire.  I know that one volunteered to be laid off.  But most were not ready and I wish them a gentle landing and hope that the jolt ignites lots of new opportunities and ways of telling the stories they tell.

People Who Apparently Are Still On the ADN Staff 

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers the oil and gas industries and general assignments for Alaska Dispatch News 
Michelle Theriault Boots is a reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. 
Marc Lester is a multimedia journalist for Alaska Dispatch News. 
Charles Wohlforth's column appears three times weekly. A lifelong Anchorage resident, he is the author of more than 10 books, and hosts radio shows on Alaska Public Media. More at 
Michael Carey is an Alaska Dispatch News columnist and the former editorial page editor of the Anchorage Daily News. 
Erica Martinson is Alaska Dispatch News' Washington, DC reporter, and she covers the legislation, regulation and litigation that impact the Last Frontier. Erica came to ADN after years as a reporter covering energy at POLITICO. Before that, she covered environmental policy at a DC trade publication.    
[UPDATE Sept 25 - told today that Bob was not laid off so moving him down to this list.  Bob Hallinen has been a photojournalist in Alaska since the 1980s and has traveled extensively around the state. ]

Annie Zak covers business and general assignments for Alaska Dispatch News. She previously wrote for the Puget Sound Business Journal and the Orange County Register. 
Tegan Hanlon covers education and general assignments. She also covered the 2016 and 2017 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Reach her at 907-257-4589 or Bob Hallinen has been a photojournalist in Alaska since the 1980s and has traveled extensively around the 
Devin Kelly covers Anchorage city government and general assignments. 
Beth Bragg is Alaska Dispatch News sports editor. 
Zaz Hollander is based in Wasilla and covers the Mat-Su region for the ADN. 
Lisa Demer is based in Bethel and covers rural Alaska stories. She has been a reporter more than three decades. Reach her at 907-543-3555. 
Nathaniel Herz covers politics and general assignments. 
Kelsey Lindsey is a 2017 graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is covering Arctic-related issues as part of an Alaska Dispatch News-Columbia fellowship. 
Laurel Andrews was born in Bethel and grew up in Fairbanks. She covers cannabis and general assignments. Reach her at or 907-257-4382. 
Stephan Wiebe writes about all things Alaska sports. 


  1. They kept the woman who writes about reality TV, Emily!! The albatross around the Dispatches neck is the print edition. They can’t lay off their way out the financial mess they are in. The print edition is going to have to be drastically reduced or eliminated. Going to miss Woody and Dermot.


  2. Thanks for putting this together. I know ADN is struggling to survive, but the community has lost some great journalists.

  3. Steve, as always, thank you for providing this news.

  4. Chanced upon your blog during a search for regularly updated Alaskan blogs. Great posts. You are several steps ahead of ADN in bringing Alaska news with a personal touch. More power to you! Thank you.

    1. DD, I checked your link and found Drummers' Diary. I need to meet you. (I'm guessing you saw the AIFF tab on my blog which would explain some of my interest, but also the Indian connection.) Send me an email (see upper right column above blog archive.) Are you in Anchorage or is your reference to Arctic literal and you're further north?

    2. Hello Steve,
      Your blog is now on my feed reader as one of my regular reads - love the content. I left Alaska in the spring of 2016, after 14 winters in ANC :-) I had not actually seen the AIFF tabs on your blog till you mentioned - that's also a connection. I had volunteered as a programmer during 2005 and 2006 festivals, when Tony Sheppard was around. Looks like it has a lot of people involved now, must be gearing up for the 2017 festival. Will drop by with comments. Nice to have met you on this series of tubes.


    3. DD, sorry you left Anchorage before we could meet (or maybe we have but didn't know it). Anyway, thanks for the kind words and I've added a link to your blog under (maybe this is a stretch) Friends and Acquaintances since you are no longer an Alaskan blog. Where are you know, in case I go there?

    4. In Washington's wine country - Columbia valley. If you ever venture to these parts, drop a comment on my blog - we'll meet.


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