A wave of layoffs hit the Alaska Dispatch News’ newsroom today, multiple sources have confirmed.
Exact numbers aren’t available but nearly a dozen employees have been laid off in the newsroom, according to sources close to the paper. Layoffs have reportedly already hit other parts of the paper. According to bankruptcy documents, the paper employed more than 200 people, including part-timers, before the sale to the Fairbanks-based Binkley family.
The Midnight Sun does not plan to name any of the employees let go through this transition without their approval or unless they’ve publicly announced their departure from the paper (Though a firing that’s politically motivated may encourage us to change our mind).
So far, long-time sports writer Doyle Woody announced his departure through Twitter (along with a fantastic set of ID pictures from more than three decades at the paper) and so has Fairbanks-based columnist Dermot Cole. Cole has a long history with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner as a reporter and later as a columnist (the paper also happens to currently be looking for an opinion editor).
1/3: That’s a wrap for me at @adn.com — Always promised myself I’d give journalism at least 34 years to see if it stuck.
— Doyle Woody (@JaromirBlagr) September 20, 2017
Long-time reporter Yereth Rosen has also been laid off. Rosen has 30 years of experience in Alaska at various outlets and has most recently been focusing on Arctic and environmental issues. She also wrote a heart-breaking personal tribute to the life of her son’s best friend Jack Cooper that everyone should read.
It also appears that We Alaskans, a magazine revived after the Alaska Dispatch purchased the Anchorage Daily News, has also been scrapped.
Throughout the bankruptcy process, it’s been clear there’s a high possibility for layoffs at the state’s largest newspaper. Outside the expenses generated by former owner Alice Rogoff’s search for new printing presses, the payroll has been one of the biggest costs for the paper. Compensation was listed as nearly $15 million in 2015 according to one bankruptcy document.
The new owners—headed by Ryan Binkley—officially bought the paper on Sept. 11 for $1 million in a move that largely frees the group from the considerable debt and legal troubles accumulated under Rogoff. In addition to letting the paper out of many contracts, the purchase agreement allowed the new owners to keep the employees they wanted. Their main goal in the process has been to rescue the paper from closure—which became a very real possibility throughout the bankruptcy process—and bring it back to a stable fiscal situation.