Inside the Juneau Empire building, the windows extend nearly from floor to ceiling, providing sweeping panoramic views of the Gastineau Channel and Douglas Island’s mountainscape.
The building itself is spacious, and houses a collection of Alaskan art.
And the people inside, of course, are some of the best you’ll ever meet.
My guess, though, is that the bulk of Juneau residents have never stepped inside. Most probably drive past it on Egan Drive, without a second thought.
That’s probably because it’s in a little bit of a funny location. It’s not quite downtown, and not quite Twin Lakes or Lemon Creek. There’s no foot traffic, unless you’re fishing by the Channel Drive dock in the summertime. One of the only reasons to drive on Channel Drive is if you’re visiting DIPAC or have business with the paper.
We’d like to give people a reason to stop by. The Empire will soon be hosting regularly scheduled tours of the building once a month (stay tuned for details.) In the meantime, we provide tours upon request, with advance notice. Anyone who wishes to take a tour can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 523-2263.)
We had a great tour group come through recently — the students in Joyanne Bloom and Patte Bowman’s classes at the Learning Connection. We had fun showing them the printing press and introducing them to some of the people who operate it, without ripping the giant rolls of white paper. We talked to them about what we do in the newsroom, and how we find the stories we write about. We even went through the revolving door into the old photography darkroom.
For those who may not want or not able to tour the Empire, we have something else for you. On the next page, A12, you’ll see the first of a new monthly segment, called “Meet the Staff,” that introduces you to some of the Juneau Empire’s employees. (Online, see the text below, and a digital version of the ad in the photos.) I think you’ll be surprised how many faces you recognize – the Empire hires many local residents in all our departments from the newsroom, to circulation to production and advertising.
First up in the “Meet the Staff” segment is James Brooks, the Empire’s statehouse reporter. He’s been reporting in Alaska for a decade, and his love for the Last Frontier, Alaskana and historical trivia is inspiring.
We hope you enjoy meeting some of our staff. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, don’t be shy.
Meet James Brooks, Statehouse Reporter
How often do you visit the Capitol?
Unless you work there, I’m betting you don’t stop by very often. That’s OK. That’s why you have me.
I’m James Brooks, the statehouse reporter for the Juneau Empire. If you’re a subscriber, I work for you.
When you don’t have the time to go to the Capitol yourself, it’s my job to let you know what’s happening. Because I know you don’t have a lot of time, it’s also my job to focus in on the things you care most about.
For Juneau, what happens in the Capitol matters. More than a third of our jobs are government jobs. If the Capitol shakes, Juneau quivers. You need to know which way to move.
For more than a century, the Empire has had a presence in the Capitol. It’s the hometown paper, and state government is hometown business. I’ve been a reporter in Alaska for a decade, working in Fairbanks and Kodiak before Juneau. I’ve covered stories from Dutch Harbor to Barrow, and from Wrangell to Nome, but a lot of what happens in those places starts here, in Juneau.
It’s a privilege to cover the Capitol and follow in the footsteps of past Empire reporters like Bill McAllister and Pat Forgey.
Their mission was the same as mine today: Know what’s important to Juneau, then explain what’s happening in simple, clear terms so you can respond. My mission is to give you the tools to influence legislation. If you see something you like, I want you to know who to thank and how to get involved. If you see something you don’t like, I want you to know how to change it.
If you do visit the Capitol, take a detour. Walk through the front doors, turn to the right, and walk to the end of the hall. You’ll find the press room there.
You’ll also find a lot of empty desks.
The press room is a lot less crowded than it used to be. This year, only two newspapers kept a correspondent in the Capitol for the entire regular session. Two TV stations and a radio network have joined them.
It’s a far cry from what it used to be. When Gov. Bill Egan became Alaska’s first state leader, the capitol press corps filled a second-floor office between the House and Senate chambers.
Today, the Legislature uses that room as its lounge.
The Empire has been covering the Alaska Legislature as long as there’s been an Alaska Legislature. It’s my privilege to continue that tradition, and it’s my honor to count you among my readers. Thank you for your support.
• Emily Russo Miller is editor of the Juneau Empire. Contact her at 523-2263 or email@example.com.