At T&C, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of what’s new in the news industry. A major developing story in Alaska has been the bankruptcy of the Alaska Dispatch News, which was renamed the Anchorage Daily News when it came under new ownership in September.
Anchorage T&Cers recently attended a PRSA Alaska Chapter luncheon, where the paper’s new owner, Ryan Binkley, gave a presentation about where Alaska’s largest newspaper is headed. Here are a few highlights:
• News coverage is now more reflective of the new name, with a focus on Anchorage first, and secondarily the rest of the state.
• Things are much better today than they were a year ago — the company is not out of the woods yet, but on a path out. The Anchorage Daily News is going to be around for a long time.
• Due to its limited staff, the editorial team must pick coverage areas they can put resources behind. They don’t have the bandwidth for everything anymore. Coverage must be the right mix of local news, business news, enterprise and long-term investigative journalism. In addition to being local, it has to be broad.
• Coverage decisions can be made by simple things like logistics. Since they don’t have the newsroom size they once had, reporters don’t have traditional beats. Writers are asked to cover topics more laterally.
• Binkley asks PR professionals to remember that reporters are half learners and half teachers. Anything you can do to help them learn and understand your clients’ news is helpful. Reporters need to be able to package up information in a way that they can share easily with their readers.
• Ask yourself the questions ADN journalists do: Who is this story for? Does it serve our mission? Does this make sense for us to cover, and how can we package it?
• Audience size: about 2 million unique monthly visitors to adn.com and 200,000 for print circulation. The publication touches about seven of 10 Anchorage adults. If you want to get a message out, the ADN is still the biggest driver in Alaska.
• There are no reporters in Bethel any longer because they had to pull back, but they are still willing to cover anything, statewide. The goal is to grow the newsroom again.
• ADN is using data and analytics to decide what the audience is reading and paying attention to its stories.
– Stephanie Plieness, Anchorage office