What is this new TV series – and what isn’t – and how does ADN get involved

Hilary Swank, Pablo Castelblanco

A new TV drama series called “Alaska Daily” starts this coming week on ABC and Hulu. The show focuses on a fictional newspaper in Anchorage that is similar to the newspaper and news website you are currently reading. It’s safe to say that Alaskans will have questions.

“Alaska Daily” is heavily promoted by ABC. There is a good chance that you watched commercials or Trailers. If you’ve visited certain towns in the Lower 48 recently, you may have seen billboards or advertisements on buses promoting the show. It starts October 6, with new episodes through the fall (it’s Thursday on ABC at 9 p.m. Alaska time and airs on Hulu the next day).

Over the past two decades, Alaska has seen a lot of shows located here. He’s been mostly into the reality TV world. (Some of these shows are fictional as well, but that’s another story.) We’ve seen episodic movies shot in Alaska or filmed here. What we haven’t seen a lot of fictional TV shows written in Alaska. Currently there are animated comics “Great North” A Peabody Award winning children’s show “Molly Denali.” Back in the day, there was the “Northern Exposure”. But not much since then. This is about to change.

Here are some dramatic stories about how “Alaska Daily” came to be, our relationship with it, and what it is — and what it isn’t.

in 2018 after The murder of Ashley Johnson Barr In Kotzebue and verses from sexual assault survivors in sleep who said The police have failed to me Investigate their casesWe released a callout for readers asking for help reporting sexual violence in Alaska. Many Alaskans responded, and many described specific and recurring points of failure within the criminal justice system.

That led us to work with ProPublica Over the next two years in a series of articles, “Lawless” which focused on sexual violence, systemic failure, and why the problems did not improve.

Shortly after the first stories were published, the US Department of Justice declared a state of emergency for law enforcement in rural Alaska. companion series, “inaudible” Published in 2020, to give a voice to survivors of sexual violence in Alaska. was “Lawless” granted Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, third ADN award.

When the first “Lawless” stories came out, we started hearing from TV and movie producers interested in adapting the stories.

We met and got to know director Tom McCarthy. McCarthy co-wrote and directed “Spotlight ,” About the Boston Globe Inquiry into Sexual Abuse by the Roman Catholic Clergy. The film won Best Picture at the 2016 Academy Awards. The film looked like a labor of love, done by someone who understands the systematic and tedious process of doing everyday journalism for the greater good.

It turns out McCarthy was considering a TV show delving into the local newsroom.

“I felt like the thing I didn’t really get was the personal lives of the journalists, getting to know who they were,” recently said. “In particular, I would say, in the last ten years, the kind of rhetoric and vitriol directed especially at journalists has really intensified. And I think, incredibly unfairly and on purpose. You know, why not underestimate the power of journalism? It makes so much From things easier, including corruption and small and large scale.

“So I thought, man, what would I do if I had the opportunity to do a TV show? And I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to know who these journalists are, specifically who are engaged in local journalism. … Can I humanize? On journalists? Can I find out who they are, what makes them move and why they do the work they do?”

McCarthy imagined a series involving a reporter from New York who finds herself in a local newsroom, and combined that idea with some of the topics and reporting we’ve been covering in the Daily News.

Hilary Swank

We were intrigued by the idea of ​​a show that offers a wide audience for local news reporters and the culture of a small local newsroom. We believe that if people can see how reporters gather and verify facts, they may have more confidence in local news. They will see them for what they are: members of their communities who work hard to understand where they live and who are dedicated to holding a mirror to their communities, holding local institutions to account and giving others in the community the basic facts with which to make decisions. The Anchorage Daily News has agreed to work with McCarthy and ABC on the project.

The show features Academy Award winner Hilary Swank as the lead character. Alaskans will learn about two Alaskan representatives in Episode One – and the Alaskan outposts. It is shot mostly in and around Vancouver, although some scenes were filmed in Anchorage. ABC has hired two talented Alaskan writers, playwright and journalist Vera Starbard (“Molly Denali”) and writer/director Andrew Okbyha Maclean (“On the snow”). Other writers include journalists Mike Resendis (who was part of the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team) and Gabriel Sherman, author of “The Loudest Voice in the Room.” ADN’s Kyle Hopkins, who was the lead reporter for the “Lawless” stories, spent two months in the TV writers’ room. He’s an executive producer on the show, along with Daily News president Ryan Binkley.

Grace Dove

The show’s creators spoke to a number of ADN employees about our work. They built a newsroom much like ours, complete with a snack table and puzzles. (This was before we redesigned our actual workplace this year.) They studied what we wear. We tried to help them understand our work, and Alaska, as best we could. We have a lot of respect for what they do. At the end of the day, it’s their story that needs to be told. We produce journalism for the Anchorage Daily News. They are making a TV about The Daily Alaskan.

The events of the TV series are not based on a single person, story, or even place. A central story involving an unsolved murder, for example, that takes place in a fictional rural center and draws on elements from generations of systemic failures. The journalists portrayed on the show are also mix-ups or archetypes rather than relying on the Daily News staff. Same with other Alaskans.

All this means is that the show is fictional. The Alaska Daily release room resembles the fictional Chicago Fire or Seattle Hospital on Grey’s Anatomy. It is not a documentary. But the idea is to help people, through the lens of network drama, better understand local news and the people who produce it. Let us know what you think.

E-mail dhulen @adn And the khopkins@adn.com.

Leave a Comment