16 June 2019

Another Digital Operation Puts its Money on Print

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Last summer, when Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post and Boston Red Sox owner John Henry snapped up The Boston Globe, a couple of key figures in Alaska journalism took notice.

Alice Rogoff, majority owner and publisher of Alaska Dispatch, and Tony Hopfinger, executive editor and co-founder of the local news website, had been looking for ways to expand their reach. An idea was born: Maybe they could collaborate with, or even take over, the state's largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News.

So they made the pilgrimage to Sacramento, home base of McClatchy, one of the nation's largest newspaper companies and owner of the Anchorage daily. When the dust settled last week, the six-year-old start-up had gobbled up the Pulitzer-winning, 68-year-old legacy news outlet for $34 million. Alaska Dispatch takes over the paper, which has a circulation of 58,000 on weekdays and 72,000 on Sunday, on May 3.

It's a vivid sign of the new order of things in journalism. Yet it raises a big question: Why would people running a hip, happening digital operation want on take on the challenge of running an old-school newspaper, with all the printing and delivery costs that go with it and print advertising plummeting pretty much everywhere?

Click here for the original story in USA Today.

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