Larry Persily, who has owned weekly newspapers in Juneau and Wrangell and has almost 25 years of experience in Alaska journalism, is buying The Skagway News from Chris Sorg. The sale will take effect April 1.
“After owning the Skagway News for the past several years, health issues have necessitated my finding a buyer to carry the paper forward into the future,” Sorg said. “Judging by the reaction of Skagway News founder and long-time owner Jeff Brady to the news, there is no doubt that I have found the right person in Larry Persily.”
Persily, who lives in Anchorage, was in Skagway on Feb. 11 to meet with editor Leigh Armstrong and business manager Katie Kollasch to start planning the transition.
“I look forward to working with Leigh and Katie — and the entire community — to build on the newspaper’s 42-year history by adding more pages with more coverage of Skagway and regional news,” Persily said. “Newspapers are important to small towns. Not just to inform and educate, but at the right times to advocate for the community and even sometimes to entertain for the good of the community.”
Persily and his late wife ran the Wrangell Sentinel 1976-1984, which he followed up with stints at the Anchorage Times, Associated Press, Juneau Empire, Anchorage Daily News and Petroleum News, along with running a weekly newspaper in Juneau 1995-1997. Persily later moved into public policy work with various state, federal and municipal jobs, focusing on oil and gas, finances and management.
His most recent municipal work was chief of staff in the Kenai Peninsula Borough 2016-2017. Persily, 67, also has worked for three different governors and as a legislative staffer, most recently in 2018 for Kotzebue Rep. John Lincoln.
“While I have enjoyed my public policy work, I miss newspapers,” Persily said. “Helping with The Skagway News is a great opportunity to get back to where I started in college 50 years ago. Writing, editing, talking with people, and always focused on getting it right.”
When he is not in Skagway, Persily said he is always available by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Skagway News is being left in very competent hands indeed.” said Sorg, of Whitehorse.