Monday, November 07, 2016

Award-winning weekly in Alaska on the market

Tom Morphet at the Chilkat Valley News 
The owner of a weekly in Alaska has put the newspaper up for sale so he concentrate on his second job of local politician, Charles Wohlforth reports for Alaska Dispatch News. Tom Morphet has owned the Chilkat Valley News for five years and run it for 25, but this year he put it up for sale after successfully running for the local legislative assembly, mainly to be a part of the decision about a controversial proposed harbor expansion project. He said he felt it was a conflict of interest to continue to run the newspaper.

Chilkat Valley News "has won 20 Alaska Press Club awards in the last three years but sells only 1,500 copies at the height of the visitor season," Wohlforth writes. "Morphet said the $60,000 he paid for the News—on installments—bought him a $50,000-a-year, seven-day-a-week job. The paper doesn't bring in enough money for an owner to take out a profit without also working there."

The newspaper is located in
Haines (Map from town website)
But there are conditions for prospective buyers, Wohlforth writes. Morphet told him, "I only want it to go to a local person who is committed to the community. When you've done this for 25 or 30 years, what you have in it is something different than cash. You have an investment in the community."

Morphet expected to major in history when he attended Marquette University, but a counselor convinced him to switch directions, Wohlforth writes. Morphet told Wohlforth, "He said, 'I encourage you to pursue journalism, because at least you'll be able to make a living.' It was probably the worst advice I ever took."

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