Online news has certainly come a long way from the early days of the Internet when many were skeptical of the credibility of online-only news operations.
The recent announcement that the Alaska Dispatch, a born and bred, online-only news operation, will buy the McClatchy-owned Anchorage Daily News, Alaska’s largest daily newspaper, sent more than a few ripples through the news industry.
Tony Hopfinger, who is the executive editor and president who co-founded the Alaska Dispatch in 2008 told the Associated Press, “This is a chance for us to get even more reporters on the ground and do more journalism.”
The reported sale of the Daily News to the Dispatch for $34 million is expected to be completed by May.
The Anchorage Daily News won two Pulitzer Prizes for public service in 1976 and 1989.
In a statement, McClatchy’s chairman, Kevin McClatchy, said that the sale made sense from a “local ownership perspective,” and would also allow McClatchy to focus resources on speeding digital transformations to better serve communities.
Hopfinger said his plans include re-establishment of a Washington, D.C.-based reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, as well as full-time reporters based in key Alaska communities.
In comments to the Alaska Dispatch, Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Journalism School, called the impending sale an “exciting experiment.”
“I am not aware of any other acquisition of a legacy newspaper of The Anchorage Daily News’ reach and stature by a digital new entrant,” Coll said.
Many media analysts hailed local ownership as a good thing. Ken Doctor, an analyst for the website Newsonomics, told the Alaska Dispatch that “…we are seeing a turning away from the chains and chain ownerships.”
Other recent high-profile newspaper purchases include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who bought The Washington Post last year for $250 million as well as billionaire Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, which owns 31 small- and medium-sized daily newspapers.
What do you think of digital news operations buying legacy media outlets? Will it make for better journalism? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @10000words.