At Alaska Dispatch News – the company – we have a split identity. Of course, first and foremost, we are a news organization. But we're also a living, breathing small business (or medium size, really, given our 200-plus employees).
This is an update about the state of our business, and some thoughts about our future.
News flash, first: We are buying a higher-quality printing press that will be in place later this year. With so many of you still loyal readers of our print newspaper, this will give you reassurance that we'll be printing for years, and perhaps decades to come. Thanks to this different press, the paper will be more colorful, somewhat redesigned, and vibrant in new and different ways. We are planning for at least 15 more years of printing the paper at a new location in Anchorage.
Next, our new printing location: Some of you may have noticed we ran an advertisement to find a suitable building for our printing operation. (In fact, we heard from so many of you about that ad that we joke we can now write our own testimonial to the power of print advertising). Thanks to the many leads received, we're narrowing down choices to a site we hope to occupy by fall. Stay tuned for us to tell you where it is, and even to schedule tours for the public.
As most of you appreciate, as a business, what we "sell" is not just news but advertising and marketing tools for you to reach our readers. And as our industry evolves, we are growing to offer a more complicated and nuanced set of products.
Some even reach beyond the bounds of our own website and print publications. For example, readers and advertisers alike have been enjoying the sponsored giveaways hosted on our social media accounts. We are also helping our Alaska advertisers take their messages beyond adn.com by offering "programmatic" ad campaigns on the web managed in real time by our own in-house ad staff.
You may also have noticed what we call "Sponsored Content" on our site. These stories have traveled the history of the Iditarod Trail and explored the culinary delights of Alaska-grown seafood and produce. They have celebrated the Teachers of Excellence, sponsored by BP. Plans are in the works to launch a series profiling Alaska Entrepreneurs. This one will be both online and on the paper's Economy page. And we're always interested in working with new sponsors who want to support stories of interest to our Alaska audience.
All of us recognize the sea change Alaska's economy is undergoing. Our business is no exception at having to navigate through uncertain times. But we, like so many of you, believe that a smarter, more diversified business sector will lead us to a healthy and different next chapter in our state's development. So we're continuing to develop new lines of business— new features that provide value to you, our readers: For stimulating tourism, we're launching ShowMeAlaska.net, a new resource for Alaska travelers from in-state, Outside and around the world ; for Alaskans, a new and improved AKCarFinder.com, providing comprehensive dealer listings from around the state; and, yes, even a dating site, NorthernLove.net.
We're reorganizing the locations of our newspaper racks around Anchorage to make them more efficient; and an expanded Arctic NewsWire is also in the works, intended to connect readers throughout the North and provide coverage of this undercovered part of the world. We're always looking for the next great idea for a product that provides great content to our readers and maximum exposure to Alaska businesses.
In short, like all news companies, we're diversifying. But unlike many, we're driven by more than the bottom line; we aim to connect Alaska, in more and better ways, both around the state and to ever-larger audiences. This is our home. And we look forward to continuing to evolve, expand and tell the stories of the Great Land.
* Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos used these words recently when addressing staff of The Post. He was distinguishing between operating at a financial loss, versus making a planned choice to invest in future growth.
Alice Rogoff is publisher of Alaska Dispatch News.