Rumors of newspapers’ demise in Valdez is premature
The Valdez rumor mill kicked into high gear last week when both the Anchorage Daily News - and then the Valdez Star - failed to appear on time in area news racks, vending machines, and more importantly, into the hands of subscribers.
Like many travelers to Valdez last week, the Star was the victim of bad weather.
The Valdez Star made hasty arrangements with Era Aviation’s cargo division earlier this month to expedite the newspapers to Valdez from Anchorage after its carrier of the past year and a half, Grant Aviation, hastily shuttered its Valdez air service.
The Valdez Star was composited and the electronic pages used to print hard copy editions were uploaded to the printers at the Frontiersman in Wasilla as usual Tuesday afternoon. The Frontiersman printed the newspapers on time, then delivered the finished copies to Era Cargo in Anchorage that Tuesday night.
The loss of the second airline taxed the space availability of cargo space on Era flights when recent snow and wind storms caused the airline to cancel flights. When scheduled flight services resumed, the crowded planes “bumped” the boxes containing nearly 1900 copies of the Valdez Star. Large numbers of librarians, skiers and other visitors with lots of luggage and gear kept the planes full – when they could fly in.
Unfortunately, the problem continued well past Friday morning. No one on staff at the Valdez Star can recall the newspapers not making it into Valdez past that day in the past 10 years, despite floods, avalanches, wind storms, road closures and other hazards that occur in Valdez. The Valdez Star attempted to have the March 20 edition brought in by an expediter, which also bumped the paper due to over-crowding.
Ironically, as the Valdez Star languished in Anchorage, copies of the Anchorage Daily News sat bundled and unclaimed at the Valdez cargo office of Era Aviation.
“The guy that was doing it wasn’t doing so well,” Roger Weinfurter, the Anchorage Daily News circulation director said Tuesday morning. “I think it was Friday we departed ways with him.”
The former Valdez carrier for the daily news, Laurinda Dickman, has resumed the Anchorage paper’s delivery on a temporary basis until a new contractor is hired according to Weinfurter.
“Everything should be back to normal now,” he said.
The Valdez Star received numerous calls from concerned - and sometimes angry - readers of both papers last week and well into this week. The confusion surrounding distribution of both newspapers was compounded by the relationship between the Valdez Star, the husband-wife duo of Laurinda and Mark Dickman, and their relationship to both newspapers.
The Valdez Star employed Mark Dickman as a graphic artist for many years. At the same time, Laurinda Dickman was the official distributor for the Anchorage Daily News and both husband and wife often did the paper route and distribution of the daily newspaper. The couple did not renew their contract to distribute the daily news when it came up for renewal in recent months. However, Mark Dickman continued to work as an hourly employee at the Valdez Star, and Laurinda Dickman began distributing the Valdez Star to vending machines and stores.
On March 5, the Valdez Star parted ways with both Dickmans.
Readers looking for information on distribution of the Anchorage Daily News can call its circulation desk at (907-257-4388)
Valdez Star readers and subscribers can contact the newspaper at 835-2405.