Jan. 5, 2006– Sustaining Niche Newspapers–Geoff Bederson and Aaron Selbig

Recap of January 2006 luncheon
by Sandi Sumner

Barbara Brown introduced the January luncheon speakers Geoff Bederson and Aaron Selbig, saying, “There are different ways to reach the audience. We want to know how you start and sustain a niche newspaper.” Then she introduced Bederson, editor of Alaska Humanity News, and Aaron Selbig, editor of Insurgent 49

Geoff Bederson said his paper’s mission is to present a point of view in the public arena that doesn’t have a voice — an alternative voice that looks at everyday events with a broader and more in-depth view. He said Alaska Humanity News is not about laying blame, it’s about looking at human issues that underlie front page news stories.

Bederson indicated that production and economics are accomplished with a low overhead of about $3,000 per issue to print and distribute 15,000 to 20,000 copies. He wanted to convey that the writers who submit articles are given room for flexibility and that the newspaper pays between $75 and $400 per article to the writer. His background includes being a founder of the Humanity School at UAA, and he is a local business owner.
Aaron Selbig, Editor of Insurgent 49 indicated this publication first hit the street April 1, 2005 and even though the name exacts strong reaction, they also provide a forum for an alternative message and voice. He said, “I compare our mission to the American Revolution and Thomas Jefferson who stood up to big government. We are advocates for progressive ideas and organizations that include antiwar, conservation, native rights, social justice and women’s rights.”

Selbig indicated the concept began with a public radio show, then a web site followed by newsprint that includes a monthly crossword puzzle. He said, “Everybody has a story to tell and some things are better than others, but even if the stories are a little rough around the edges they are natural and spontaneous. They are insightful stories about politics, economics and cultural events. Our perspective is unorthodox. We believe we’re having the impact we want. Free speech is a gift and allows for the true _expression of inner feelings.” Selbig was formerly with the Alaska Press newspaper and several other publications before this venture. (No compensation is presently being paid to contributing writers.)

Geoff Bederson

Geoff Bederson

Aaron Selbig

Aaron Selbig

Posted in AfterWords, Speakers.