Several months after its sale, the Cordova Times newspaper, according to locals, is thriving.
Last year it was one of several publications that Calista, an Alaska native corporation, decided to shed from its portfolio of assets. The local news business was "not supportive of the company's long-term financial interests," a press release read at the time.
A lot of people in small Alaska towns like Cordova wondered where they'd get their fix of local stories, photos, and gossip.
The Cordova Times, which dates back to 1906, appeared doomed following the sale, but it’s now printing once a week and is read by most people in town.
“We did miss it the time that it wasn’t available,” said Lisa Brost, who stopped by the one-desk Cordova Times newsroom last week to pick up a few back-issues.
Much of the town credits Jennifer Gibbens with saving the paper. She spent a year as editor and when Calista announced it was selling the Times, she got to thinking about the future.
“I didn’t want the paper to disappear,” she said while preparing the next issue for delivery.
So she bought the Times, convinced advertisers to commit to a year, and had the presses once again running by November.
“The community has really stepped up and said, ‘hey we’re willing to be serious partners in this,’” Gibbens said.
You won't find hard-hitting investigations in the paper, but Gibbens says readers are always assured an interesting read with full-color photos on nearly every page.
They cover a lot of fishing news, outdoors stories, and local politics. One local column is titled simply: "B.S."
“It’s way better, hands down,” said Dez Jensen, who was helping her daughter Anika get ready for her weekly delivery.
Anika is one of a dozen or so kids who show up at the Cordova Times front door each Friday to pick up a stack of issues, stuff them in a canvas sack, and then fan out across town.
“It’s the highlight of my week,” said Gibbens.
The “paper kids” earn $1 for every $4 paper they sell.
Gibbens considered making the Cordova Times a mostly-online news source. It would’ve saved money, but as she soon discovered, “people really want print.”
This story was featured on "Assignment Alaska," during the Newshour at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 on Channel 2.
Email Ted Land