Letters to the Editor

Letter: Beth Bragg and the case for print newspapers

I’m an easy sell. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area with news-junkie parents who had three newspaper subscriptions. The San Francisco Chronicle would turn up early in the morning, the Oakland Tribune would be launched into our yard from the front basket of a bicycle after school, followed by the San Francisco Examiner a few hours later.

The headlines sometimes overlapped, but the coverage was always specific to each periodical. I would eagerly open the Chronicle to read Herb Cain, the Examiner would show me the live music line up at the Cow Palace, and the Trib was the place to go for all the East Bay high school and college sports coverage.

The print edition of the Anchorage Daily News, briefly the Alaska Dispatch News, has dutifully landed in my Girdwood driveway since I moved to Alaska more than 20 years ago. I love the morning ritual of unfolding the printed sheets of information with a cup of strong black coffee. I spend more than enough time staring at a screen on my laptop, and when I want a deeper dive into the world we live in, I want to read it in print. Many younger than my Gen-X self won’t solve the riddle, “what’s black and white and read all over?”

Opening the ADN recently, I found something to be missing. Beth Bragg, for my 21 years in Alaska, has been the narrator of more than our local sports beat. Beth has colored the personality of our community and chronicled its many stories with vivid and thoughtful prose. She found the story behind the story, and was relentless in covering all things Alaskan.

On a personal level, I’d like to thank Beth Bragg for covering skiing. Alaska has produced amazing talent, and Beth provided us with compelling features about our local Olympians and young up-and-comers alike. Beth played an important role in covering the saga of sports being eliminated, and reinstated, at the University of Alaska. Her ability to weave the human interest and community impact into the greater narrative brought attention, and ultimately action, to a successful outcome for local college sports.

Journalism is important. And quality local journalism is incredibly important. I’m guessing that more than a few pages from the ADN sports page with Beth Bragg’s byline have been clipped and saved and framed and mailed (with a postage stamp!) over her long career. Without a physical paper, parents can’t cut out captions and photos of their children. Sure, you can cut and paste and copy a web link, but you can’t mail that to your grandparents. Thank you, Beth Bragg. You’ve kept our post offices busy for the past 30 years, and you will be missed.

— Sparky Anderson


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