Owner Will Give Newspaper to the Right Applicant

Knowledge of small-town Alaska is a plus
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2019 4:44 PM CST
The Right Applicant Will Own Alaska Paper, Free of Charge
Larry Persily in the office of the Skagway News.   (Molly McCammon via AP)

After eight months as owner of the financially embattled Skagway News, Larry Persily has decided the Alaska newspaper needs a new owner. Finding the right person to make a go of the enterprise is more important to him than a check, so he's set the price for the News at a firm nil, the Guardian reports. "I don’t care about the money as much as I’d like it to survive," Persily said. He decided to sell when his editor quit after a year in the job. Persily's successor will be busy. "The owner, the editor, the reporter, the publisher, the subscription-taker has got to be the same person, who is part of the community, lives there year-round," he said. At the moment, Persily, 68, has only the help of a part-time administrator in producing a 550-circulation paper that covers the town of 1,000 in Alaska's panhandle.

Persily told his readers Monday that he's heard from more than 100 people, from across the country and abroad. They don't all want to own the News; some just offered advice. One applicant thinks the project could save her marriage, he wrote, and others hope to find someone to marry in Skagway. "What I am looking for is someone with professional journalism experience (quality, credibility and judgment)," Persily said, "someone who has lived in a small town, and someone who appreciates the challenges and benefits of small-town life." It would help if they know and understand Alaska. "It's weird up here," Persily said. "It’s weirder than Sarah Palin is weird." Until he finds a replacement, friends of the paper will help him cover the town. The new owner will face the same challenges as newspapers in communities everywhere. The Knight Foundation recently assessed the challenges and possible solutions. (Read more newspapers stories.)

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