The Calista Corporation board of directors has voted to close and liquidate Alaska Newspapers Inc. (ANI). The Calista subsidiary for the past 19 years published six weekly rural papers including the multi-award-winning The Tundra Drums out of Bethel, the award-winning quarterly magazine First Alaskans, as well as Camai Printing, a traditional printing house based in Anchorage.
The weekly newspapers also include Arctic Sounder, Bristol Bay Times, Cordova Times, Dutch Harbor Fisherman and Seward Phoenix Log. All ANI publications, which will print their final run in August, have helped bring about change in rural Alaska, including in towns and villages that are not accessible by road. The reporting raised awareness of the disparities in health, water, sewer, energy, telecommunications and transportation infrastructure.
The decision to shut down came at the company’s second quarter meeting on July 22.
With the increasing costs of fuel, paper and print technology, Calista has found the subsidiary is not supportive of the company’s long-term financial interests.
“As a responsibility to our 12,000 shareholders, we had to take a hard look at the subsidiary and make a tough decision,” said Calista President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Guy. “ANI leaves behind an impressive legacy. We’re very appreciative of the superb staff and extraordinary talent that have worked so hard to report on rural Alaska. We genuinely hope the communities affected by this will find a new media voice to tell their stories.”
The corporation plans to assist ANI employees with the transition, offering unemployment assistance counseling, severance packages and referral letters. ANI will also offer preferential hiring for any openings within the corporation that they are qualified for.
“As we enter the second half of 2011, the corporation will continue to work in the best interest of our shareholders,” said Calista Board Member Art Heckman. “Calista strives for greater shareholder value and prosperous business enterprises.”