The Alaska Dispatch News is a daily newspaper published by the Alaska Dispatch, and based in Anchorage, Alaska. With a circulation of about 57,622 daily and 71,223 on Sundays, it is by far the most widely read newspaper in the state of Alaska.
The newspaper is headquartered in Anchorage, with bureaus in Wasilla, Fairbanks, Juneau, Bethel and Washington, D.C. The paper sells within Alaska at the retail price of $1 Monday through Saturday, with the Sunday/Thanksgiving Day final selling for $2. The retail price for the paper outside Alaska and home delivery subscription rates vary by location.
The Alaska Dispatch News was born as the weekly Anchorage News, publishing its first issue January 13, 1946. The paper’s founder and first publisher was Norman C. Brown. The early president of the paper's parent company was Harry J. Hill, who was also assistant treasurer of The Lathrop Company. This established the theory that Cap Lathrop was really behind the publication, but didn't wish to have his name formally associated with it, unlike his other newspapers such as the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Brown did share Lathrop's views on the statehood issue. Brown became a leader in the short-lived mid-1950s movement to turn Alaska into a commonwealth rather than a state.
The newspaper became an afternoon daily in May 1948, although it wouldn't publish a Sunday newspaper until June 13, 1965. By then, the Anchorage Daily News had become a morning newspaper, making that switch on April 13, 1964.
By the 1970s, the gradual downturn in the newspaper industry was taking its toll on the ADN. Lawrence Fanning had purchased the paper in 1968, but suffered a heart attack at his desk and died in 1971. His widow, Katherine Woodruff "Kay" Fanning, took over. Kay Fanning had previously been married into the Marshall Field family (she is the mother of Ted Field, in fact). This was of no help to her, as the paper plunged further into debt as the decade wore on. In 1974, Fanning entered into a joint operating agreement with the Anchorage Times. Times publisher Robert Atwood cancelled the agreement 4 years later. By this point, the paper's news-gathering and editorial operations were operating out of a small two-story storefront building at the corner of West Seventh Avenue and I Street.
Purchase by the McClatchy Company
The McClatchy Company purchased the Daily News in 1979, when it bought a controlling interest from Kay Fanning, who had been editor and publisher since Larry Fanning's death in 1971. Kay Fanning continued as the head of the paper until mid-1983. While retaining some financial interest in the paper, she went on to become the editor of the Christian Science Monitor.
The Daily News was the first of two newspapers that the then-122-year-old, California-based, McClatchy Company bought outside the state; the Kennewick, Washington, Tri-City Herald was the next. McClatchy would later grow to become a national newspaper company, including the purchase of the Knight-Ridder chain in 2006.
Purchase by the Alaska Dispatch
2014 name change
On Sunday, July 20, 2014, the parent-company of the ADN, the Alaska Dispatch, renamed the paper the Alaska Dispatch News.
The newspaper has won the Pulitzer Prize twice in the "Public Service" category, in 1976 and 1989. No other Alaska newspaper has ever won a Pulitzer. The 1976 Pulitzer was for its series "Empire: The Alaska Teamsters Story," which disclosed the effect and influence of the Teamsters Union on the state's economy and politics. The Daily News was at that time the smallest daily newspaper ever to win the Public Service Pulitzer. The 1988 series was "A People in Peril," which documented the high degree of alcoholism, suicide and despair in the Alaska Native population.