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HomeAlmanacFifth Anniversary week for 'mighty' Must Read Alaska

Fifth Anniversary week for ‘mighty’ Must Read Alaska


Today marks the fifth anniversary of Must Read Alaska, which started as a Monday political newsletter to about 200 Alaska conservatives, and now is a three-times-weekly newsletter with over 11,800 subscribers, and a daily news website that receives more than 10,000 visits a day.

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This project was built originally to keep the mainstream media in Alaska on its toes. That is still one of its purposes, but it also is here to inform people about politics and current events in Alaska.

Readers will recall that five years ago, the Anchorage Daily News was owned by wealthy East Coaster Alice Rogoff, who had helped install Gov. Bill Walker. She had renamed it the Alaska Dispatch. Her connection to the governor was tight, and she was operating the newspaper like a branch of the Alaska Democratic Party. The ADN has always been a liberal newspaper, but now it was over the top.

The public walked with their dollars and their feet. Many conservative Alaskans were clambering for another newspaper, like the old Anchorage Times. Discussions were underway among business leaders for how to finance such an enterprise.

This editor, who comes from a newspaper background, said “no.” The path forward is different in today’s world. Print is not viable as a business model and newspapers, as a rule, are a poor investment. Must Read Alaska would start a news website to punch back at the liberal-dominated media.

By 2017, Must Read Alaska was three years and counting, with the website up and running, and the newsletter expanded to three days a week.

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Meanwhile, the ADN was in bankruptcy court in 2017. Rogoff wasn’t paying her bills and stiffed many small Alaska businesses. The Binkley family bought new newspaper for pennies on the dollar and have tried to keep it afloat for the past two and a half years.

Must Read Alaska documented the decline of the Rogoff and Walker empires during those years.

(Interestingly, the ADN has recently moved to a donation model. In a recent series of notes from the editor, readers are directed to donate money to a nonprofit 501(c)(3), and the money they donate there will be funneled back to the ADN.)

Other news organizations in Alaska have shrunk as well — the NewsMiner is a shadow of its former self and is owned by a charitable foundation, and the Juneau Empire has a shaky future, with its parent company downsizing.

Must Read Alaska is still one person, with help from columnists like Art Chance, Win Gruening, and occasional others, and some content creators who help from time to time build ads for advertisers and graphics for stories. MRAK runs very lean, and counts on the help of hundreds of readers who chip in financially every week, and who send in tips and comments. Recently, MRAK owes a debt of gratitude to Alaskan John Quick, who has been working on developing the business end of the MRAK project, to keep it afloat.


Must Read Alaska website reached over 9 million views this month, and is on track for 10 million views next month. The editor has approved and posted more than 35,000 reader comments (those that take too much editing just get round-filed at this point).

Here are some of the stats for the site as compared to mainstream media outlets in Alaska:


The winner for all-time views is the column that editor Suzanne Downing wrote in January, 2020, titled: “New decade: The Next Roaring Twenties?” Little did we know that the Roaring Twenties would come to an abrupt end before it even started, and that the world would start circling the drain by February.


This news project has always been about Alaskans and Alaska, our future as a state, and keeping the media honest. We can’t backslide or be deluded into thinking the media will ever be fair to conservatives in Alaska. And the damage done to our state during the Rogoff-Walker years will be with us for a long time.

You can help MRAK with your donations, with your news tips, and by letting advertisers know that Must Read Alaska is a great value. The truth is, MRAK depends upon people who decide this project needs to continue.

Your donations help pay for outside contracted help that keeps the website functional, and fixes it when it breaks. They help pay for the web tools needed to publish the newsletter, and the research and travel to cover the state from Fairbanks to Ketchikan.

Today, to celebrate the fifth anniversary, MRAK launched a new feature on the front page that we’re calling “Featured Videos.” Scroll on over there after you’re finished here, and see the video clips. Keep an eye on that spot as MRAK rolls out some new features in the next few weeks.

Finally, thank you to all who have contributed their time and treasure to making MRAK a valuable resource for our future. Here’s to the next five years of keeping the mainstream media on its toes!

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Celebrate MRAK’s birthday with a donation. Thank you for sticking with this, Suzanne. What a blessing you and your news has been to the state!

  2. I love what you do Suzanne! Living in the bush with no TV or. Reliable source of news is a challenging task to stay abreast of what’s happening.

    Facebook, love it or hate it has changed the game in Rural Alaska.

    • Congratulations on 5 years. Its nice to have a conservative outlet in this liberal dominated media world that we are in today. Thanks for all your hard work.

  3. Suzanne,
    I bet you never thought 5 years ago that we would be living in a world with global authoritarian lockdowns and the oil “futures” market falling to under 0 dollars a share?
    So much for all those new discoveries up north as there is no end in sight for the contrived media madness we all are currently facing…
    Congrats on your success with MRAK and a warm & happy 420 to you!

    • Blaze it, Steve. Haha. In 2020 you can buy pot at a pot store, but cannot buy flowers at a flower store. Things I did not expect to see this year. – sd

  4. I second the motion for your readers to make a donation to MRAK. I do and enjoy 99% of what is written!!!!

  5. Suzanne: there are at least three areas of excellence that have made you and MRAK a growing success. 1) your entrepreneurial skills in journalism; 2) your writing skills; 3) your truthfulness. Thank you for 5 years, and looking forward to at LEAST another 5. Check is on the way!

  6. Bill Walker, a disgraced, law-breaking former governor, now walking lonely and depressed on remote Hawaiian beaches. Byron Mallott, a shunned and self-exiled former Lt. governor who has yet to come out of hiding under allegations of child-sex abuse. Rogoff, a dumb heiress who thought she could make Bill Walker a standing political hero for Alaska. ADN, purchased by a wealthy family who’s expertise is definitely not news print. Fairbanks Newsminer, who’s writing gods for the past 30 years were the far Left-wing Cole brothers (affectionately known as the little twin Cole dwarfs). Even the Alaska Journal of Commerce, which 30 years ago presented reasonable, alternative viewpoints in business, now a scrap heap magazine good for the bottom-deck of the bird cage. MRAK is the leader in Alaska reporting. Even the Democrats and Lefties who disagree, will agree with this: There’s no ignoring Suzanne and MRAK. Thank you, Suzanne.

    • Well said! This is the ONLY reliable source for news and opinion AND has the most thoughtful comments! Here’s to another successful 5!

      • And don’t forget that Bill Walker was our idiot governor that wanted to construct a gas pipeline across Alaska by giving the Communist Chinese an opportunity to have ownership control of the project on exchange for their outside capital investment. Walker took several official trips to meet with Commie Chinese to get their money. One can only ask: was Bill Walker a traitor to his own country and state, or, was he just plain stupid?

        • After 10 seconds of hard thought, I’m going with “plain stupid.” After all, Walker did choose Byron Mallott as his running mate. Another brilliant move by our plain stupid former governor.

  7. Keep up your exceptionally good work Suzanne. Without you we would be in the dark. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  8. I too am surprised that MJ was legalized despite going against the Fed. I like your no spin sight, reminds me of Bill O’Reilly. It’s a good place to come blow off steam. Not much in the results happen though. Keep up the great work.

  9. I enjoy MRA very much and give it a hi priority in my daily reading online. I do however take an opposing view to Art Chance anti union bias and I am a firm opponent of the Pebble project.

    • I’m not “anti-union” in their role of representing employees over “wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment.” I think most union leaders who actually dealt with me would say I was tough but fair. Yes, I am very anti-union when they become socialist workers’ parties meddling in every aspect of public policy and using confiscated dues money to do it.

  10. Congratulations on five years, time really flies when your having fun! Thanks for allowing my voice to be heard. This page is on the top of the list of my daily visits. Keep up the good work.

  11. In five years you’ll be gone with having to get an actual job along with Medred. Although to think about it, you’d both would have one by now if you were employable. I notice that Bluto (The Daily Planet!) can still get traction. He is an amazing case of what a lifetime of sucking on something can bring.

  12. What is truly amazing about Suzanne is her tolerance for Liberals, Lefties, and Democrats. They too, know that the best source of Truth is right here at MRAK, so they drop by to learn how they can better spin their sophistry and lies. Sometimes, they even weigh-in to attempt an argument. Although, rarely a good one. Most of them are lazy, slothful, and out of work (or never did work, outside of meaningless government jobs). They are usually angry, mean, hypocritical, and nasty. Much of it borne out of jealousy. So Suzanne, enjoy your success and prominence. You earned it!

    • B is a perfect example of the kind mentioned above by Naomi. May COVID be good to you, B. Keep checking in here. You may find your cure.

    • There’s nothing like having a major encroachment of civil liberties to reinforce the importance of a free and unfettered press that holds government accountable.

      I’ve read “B” here time and again stabbing his witless pricks at MRAK. He, or is is a she, represents the liberal elite, but is more of a C- than a B. Just sayin’

  13. Right?! I felt like Naomi could see into my psyche. I really am a slothy, under-educated do nothing that’s lived off the government gravy train for most of my life. A little like local hero Art Chance. But her insight is nothing compared to your passive-aggressive and downright malicious COVID comment. May God’s love and forgiveness finally nestle into your dark, dank excuse for a soul Donna. You’ll resist, thinking you’re already there, but maybe at some point you’ll realize. But probably not.

    • Suzanne has taken it, so she has earned the right to dish it out.
      She’s a journalist, and news is her job.
      She leaves room for everyone else’s opinion and agendas. She plays fair.

    • Actually, I’d give B more of a D. Suzanne DOES allow lefty trolls, so maybe D-. He/she? I was thinking more along lines of trannie. Ooops. Sorry, Suzanne for rule breaking.

  14. Thanks for being a light in the dark for those of us not connected as you are. Doubtless the libs, rinos, tyrants, thieves and lazy are in fear of MRAK, as they’ll make side comments about it and you regularly.
    Time to start supporting MRAK more. Cheers!

  15. I know first hand that our state “leaders” read MRAK. I have received “advice” and down right warnings from 3rd party friends about my writing. Some treading very close to my first amendment rights. If you can’t stand the heat or the truth, stay out of the kitchen.

  16. Oh, the memories of the past five years, I am sure they have been great, even though I only started reading in 2018. It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Suzanne. God bless. Continue to keep up the conservative news of truth.

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