Photos by Marc Lester | Article by David Hulen
Saturday night marked the end of an era for Alaska's largest newspaper – and the start of a new one. Sunday's paper was the final edition printed at the production facility on Northway Drive in East Anchorage, in use every day since 1986. Starting with Monday's paper, Alaska Dispatch News will be printed on a contract basis in the Mat-Su by Wick Communications. The newspaper's offices and distribution center will remain in Anchorage.
The Northway Drive building was constructed to house the Anchorage Daily News and opened in the summer of 1986. In 2014, Alice Rogoff, at the time owner of the online-only Alaska Dispatch, bought ADN from McClatchy Co. and sold the building to the telecom company GCI. Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Dispatch were merged, the name was changed to Alaska Dispatch News, and offices were moved to Midtown Anchorage. Rogoff planned to build a new printing plant elsewhere in the city, but the plans hit repeated delays and it never became operational. GCI, which had plans for the space in the Northway building, sued to evict the newspaper over back rent. ADN filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and, last month, was sold to the Binkley family of Fairbanks.
As the new owners reorganize the company for long-term sustainability, both in print and online, they contracted with Wick to print the paper at its plant in the Mat-Su Borough, about an hour away. ADN will open a new distribution facility for delivery crews elsewhere in East Anchorage. Home delivery times are expected to be similar.
Saturday night was the final edition produced at the Northway plant. A few of the employees there are going to work for Wick. The three-story Goss Headliner press and other equipment will be dismantled.
For more than 30 years, through thick and thin, the crew at the Northway Drive plant was there every night getting it done — working at a consistently high level and making the community a better place through their work.
— David Hulen, editor