The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Fern Greenbank
LOG Editor 

LOG welcomes long time Alaska publisher

Op-Ed

 


A few weeks ago, I wrote an editorial outlining the direction the Seward Phoenix LOG was taking. I admitted the newspaper had a rich but checkered history with ups and downs, a heyday and a not so heyday. To accomplish the newly-charted journey, we sought assistance.

Beginning this week, the role of publisher will be filled by John Woodbury, owner of Alaska Adventure Media, a media group based in Anchorage that produces Coast Magazine, the official Iron Dog magazine, Alaska SnowRider Magazine, Alaska Buyer’s Guide and the Oxygen & Octane Expo as well as the official guides for the Mount Marathon Race and the Silver Salmon Derby. Now, Woodbury will serve as publisher of the Seward Phoenix LOG and the Tundra Drums in Bethel. Woodbury formerly served as editor for Alaska Newspapers, Inc. in the 90s during the era when Calista Corp. brought the LOG in-house to Anchorage; not a popular move in the eyes of many Sewardites. Woodbury jointly owns the Alaska Buyer’s Guide with LOG and Drums owner Edgar Blatchford.

Blatchford re-purchased the LOG and Drums from Calista three years ago when the Native Corp decided to divest of all rural community papers. He bought them to make sure they lived on and stayed true to independent community journalism. He wanted to honor a paper founded by Bev and Willard Dunham. This followed on the heels of the launch of the Seward Journal by Vanta Shafer, someone Blatchford deeply respected, and this was also seen by some as an unpopular though well intended decision.

Blatchford, a lifelong Sewardite, former Seward mayor, government cabinet member and champion of Native media ownership, now teaches media history, ethics and law for the UAA Journalism and Public Communications program. Widely known as a man of integrity who opened many doors for Alaska Native journalism and voices, Blatchford believes deeply in the power of fair and accurate community journalism.

Woodbury and his team are offering us expert business resources and staffing, much needed at the LOG as we go about the business of rebuilding a necessary product that addresses the local audience and helps businesses market their products to a larger market. We are grateful for the decades of knowledge we gain from marketing and advertising specialist Jill Tillion, business consultant Linda Cushman, graphic designer Meranda Carter and Woodbury’s three decades producing audience targeted publications. It’s a perfect fit for Seward, a city with epic views, sea life, adventure tourism, arts, history, great schools, great people and development important to the state.

This new configuration does not change the mission of the LOG: to consistently seek out ways to present accurate and fair coverage of events and issues important to Seward and surrounding communities. We just needed an infusion of professionalism to transition to a multimedia platform: web, print and social media. We are adding advertising representatives locally in Seward to better provide services to the people of Seward including former LOG editor Wolfgang Kurtz and Joy Landaluce, a 17 year veteran of advertising sales for the Cordova Times, will be offering consulting services, sales and training services.

The dedication of former publisher Annette Shacklett is deeply appreciated. Annette was one of the founding members of Alaska Newspapers, Inc. and a production specialist for more than 30 years. Annette will now have an opportunity to expand her artistic opportunities. She took on a giant task when the paper was brought back to Seward, where it should have stayed in the first place. She helped Blatchford save this venerable paper from demise.

We are not afraid of change, but we also intend to respect core values of journalism, and community journalism in particular. As I asked several weeks ago, I ask again for your patience as we continue to improve this 52-year old paper. The LOG itself has not disappointed its audience, though sometimes it suffers the consequences of circumstances beyond its control. The next few months may seem a bit disjointed, but we do have a plan and appreciate all the support we’ve been offered.

 

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