On Thursday evening I stopped by the Alaska Dispatch open house to visit with a former boss/inimitable woman/shaper-of-much-of-the-last-three-years-of-my-professional-life who gifted me with a personal tour of the new space and introductions to people whose writing I’ve been reading for years. I couldn’t control my nerdiness and kept repeating, “This is the first time I’ve ever seen a newsroom! It’s so cool!!!”
I might be romanticizing it, but the newsroom felt like a hive of creativity and energy, filled with clever, interesting people crafting fascinating (Old chart identified as artifact from ill-fated voyage of the Karluk), impactful (Addiction, survival and love on Anchorage streets), and sometimes just plain fun (Scott McMurren: Romantic getaway deals, Outside and in) articles for us to read.
A few takeaways to share with you:
- I loved seeing the personal touches people gave their spaces – the open layout doesn’t allow for much in terms of decoration, but little things like a mason jar drinking glass, tiny American flag, and goose cookie jar brought a little human quirk to the almost overpowering mass of electronics.
- Speaking of electronics, there were computers and cords EVERYWHERE. Flat screens on the wall displaying the Dispatch’s online analytics, desks set up to accommodate the cables snaking along the floor, laptops, desktops, tablets, phablets, smartphones…can you image the size of the power bill every month?
- The Dispatch employs incredibly talented photographers who travel all over our state and take pictures of EVERYTHING. Many of their photos adorn the walls, adding vibrant hues to an otherwise neutrally colored space. My favorite was a fish swimming toward the camera with its mouth open – utterly startling to glimpse from the corner of your eye.
- A mid-century modern-esque sitting area featured a much-loved, weathered couch from Governor Hickel’s house. Can you image the secrets shared, plans made, and deals brokered atop those cushions?
Reading the news will feel different now that I can visualize the space where many of the stories are written, associate faces with the bylines, and understand the massive quantity of work that goes into publishing a newspaper. Thank you Alaska Dispatch for the warm welcome and making my first newsroom visit so memorable!