You may hear my Southern accent when I say this, but I just love Alaska. It’s a dream come true that this is now my home. Even though I was born and raised in South Carolina and moved here from Georgia, I wasn’t surprised at all when I recently took an online quiz — What is Your Perfect State to Live in Based on Your Personality? — and the answer popped up “Alaska.”
For the past 15 years, I’ve traveled to Alaska for work. In October, I moved up here. At first, it was going to be a temporary assignment, but in July my husband, Greg, and I put our Georgia home up for sale. Alaska is going to have a hard time getting rid of us.
Not only do I live in the place of my dreams, as publisher of the Peninsula Clarion and as group publisher for the other Morris newspapers in Alaska, I also have the job of my dreams. Some people think I’m a little crazy when I say that, because they believe the newspaper industry is going the way of the dinosaur. Not me. While our industry is in a period of great change and challenge — which is exciting for me — I believe the future is bright for newspapers, particularly those in Alaska.
Let me explain why. While I love almost everything about this state — the unsurpassed beauty, the fishing, the moose that hold up traffic, the eagles, the whales, those eye-popping northern lights — the thing that grabs my attention most is Alaska’s potential. I believe newspapers play a critical role in harnessing that potential.
The key to success in almost everything is to make sure those involved in any given project have the best information possible to make decisions — whether those are buying decisions or voting decisions. That’s what newspapers do best: provide information. That information is provided in printed news stories, as advertisements, as tweets, as posts on Facebook, as online breaking news stories. Our industry — this newspaper — is all about providing timely and accurate information. As the world becomes more complicated and consumers have ever more choices, good information becomes even more valuable. We want to fill that role as the No. 1 source of news and information for the central Kenai Peninsula to make your life a little less complicated.
To provide that information, however, we’ve got to be integrally involved in the communities we serve. Our information is only as good as our relationships. If we don’t know what matters to you — our readers, our advertisers, our neighbors — we’ll miss the mark virtually every time.
It pains me to say this, but when it comes to relationship building, we haven’t lived up to our potential in the recent past. Longtime traditions that were part of our connection with you were dismantled. Things that were important to you seemed to be not important to us. Bottom line: We made some bad decisions.
I can’t undo the past, but I can tell you the Peninsula Clarion is committed to the communities we serve. What matters to you does matter to us. We want to hear from you about what we’re doing right and what we can improve. We want to help your business harness its potential and reach the biggest audience possible — you may be surprised at all the high-tech tools we have to help you.
To show — and not just tell — our commitment, here are three things we’re doing right away:
1. We have restarted our weekend subscription program. Let’s face it, while I think everyone should be reading the paper six days a week, for some people that’s just not feasible. If a weekend subscription works for you, it works for us.
2. Along the lines of providing news our readers can use, we’ve added USA Today Personal Finance pages to the Sunday Clarion, with insight and advice for saving and managing your money — valuable information in financially uncertain times.
3. We live here, and you’ll see us in out and about at community events. Come introduce yourself.
I wouldn’t be in Alaska if I didn’t think it was a place of almost limitless possibilities. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here. Together, this newspaper and this community can do great things, but we know we can’t do it without you. We hope you’ll give us the privilege and opportunity to continue to work with you — on what’s important to you.
If you have comments you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to call. You can reach the Clarion at 907-283-7551.
— Deedie McKenzie, Publisher