Alaska Dispatch News files for bankruptcy; new publishers emerge

Alaska’s largest newspaper filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Saturday evening and new owners — an Alaska family that made its fortune hauling freight and tourists on the Yukon River and its tributaries, and a company that owns rural newspapers in the state — have been lined up.

In a prepared statement Saturday, Alaska Dispatch News LLC owner Alice Rogoff, who also has served as publisher, said it was a “truly bittersweet” moment for her, though she is relieved the newspaper will live on under new ownership. Her four-paragraph prepared statement didn’t name the new owners, though the group interested in buying the paper issued a statement Saturday.

“We’ve worked hard to help illuminate the issues of our day and provide a platform for points of view from across Alaska,” Rogoff said Saturday. “Yet like newspapers everywhere, the struggle to make ends meet financially eventually caught up with us. I simply ran out of my ability to subsidize this great news product. Financial realities can’t be wished away.”

Cabot Christianson, a bankruptcy attorney representing the newspaper in the Chapter 11 proceeding, said that along with filing for bankruptcy protection, the company is also planning to ask the bankruptcy court to allow it to borrow up to $1 million in working capital from the potential buyers, and to seek court approval to sell the newspaper as a whole to that buyer.

The potential buyers, working together, are a company composed of siblings Ryan Binkley, Wade Binkley, James Binkley and Kai Binkley Sims, as well as Alaska Media LLC, which owns three rural Alaska newspapers. The group is led by Ryan Binkley and Alaska Media owner Jason Evans, according to a statement the group issued Saturday. Former Anchorage Daily News publisher Jerry Grilly, who retired as president and CEO of the Denver Post in 2012, is a consultant to the group, Ryan Binkley said.

“At the same time the paper has filed for bankruptcy protection, we’ve entered…

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