Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


CVN ownership changes hands


Editor and lead reporter Tom Morphet bought the Chilkat Valley News effective July 1, but don’t expect to see big changes in the paper.

The look of the local weekly will remain largely the same, Morphet said, but he’ll pursue improvements to the newspaper’s website and its annual visitor’s guide.

Morphet bought the CVN from Bonnie Hedrick, who told him years ago that she wanted to sell. “It’s been about five years of me working up the nerve to buy it,” Morphet said. “I felt I needed a new challenge.”

He hopes to shift reporting duties to a full-time reporter and turn his focus to the business side of the paper. Morphet, who will remain editor, “would like to groom the next generation of (CVN) reporters…who will carry it on.”

Hedrick became part-owner in 1986 and has been sole owner since 1989. She oversaw changes including computerization and development of a newspaper website.

Hedrick bought the paper from Ray Menaker, who established it in 1966 and saw it as “a labor of love,” she said.

Hedrick said she “can’t imagine anyone who would do a better job” than Morphet, who she said, genuinely cares about the community. “It’s wonderful that Tom, who really knows the paper inside and out, is taking it.”

Morphet began working at CVN in 1986. He said he plans to uphold the community-oriented history that defines it. In its first edition in January 1966, for instance, Menaker asked the community to vote on naming the paper.

“I’m hoping to continue the tradition of fairness, accuracy, and objectivity that Ray and Bonnie established,” Morphet said. He added that he wants the paper to be an engine for the local economy. “I want to support the business sector here.”

Hedrick acknowledged the growing challenges of running a newspaper, a so-called dying industry, in a small town. “The future won’t be easy,” she said. “Tom bought himself a job. He’s bought himself a big job.”

But Hedrick notes that the CVN has survived this long and doesn’t think the town would allow it to “go by the wayside.”

While it’s been “an honor” working for the CVN, Hedrick looks forward to having more balance in her life. Besides continuing her job as a court clerk, Hedrick plans to go on hiking and biking trips and visit family. She said her position as CVN owner consumed her.

But despite the unending and demanding nature of the job, she felt good knowing she was serving the town. “For me, I really considered it a public service.”

Morphet said he’s looking forward to the challenge of learning the business aspect of the newspaper. “It’s gonna be a big education for me.”