Kay Fanning’s Alaska Story, by Kay Fanning and Katherine Field Stephen
In 1965, Kay Woodruff Field, 38, a newly divorced former debutante once described as the “Grace Kelly of Chicago,” loaded her three children into a Buick station wagon and headed north to start a fresh life in Alaska. Little did she know that she would became the most influential woman in Alaska. Alaska Story ( follows Fanning after she took a job at the Anchorage Daily News, a struggling morning newspaper that she and her new husband, Larry Fanning, later bought. After Larry’s death, Kay became editor and publisher. She pressed for settlement of Alaska’s Native land claims, alienated advertisers by covering environmental issues deemed to threaten development, and in 1976 won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of corruption in Alaska’s powerful Teamsters Union. Kay Fanning died in 2000, her memoir unfinished. Katherine Field Stephen, herself a reporter, was determined to finish her mother’s book. And she did, by inviting eighteen of Kay’s friends and colleagues to contribute personal stories about Kay Fanning.
“Kay Fannings memoir was a joy to read.”
–Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe
“Kay Fanning was the Joan of Arc of journalism. She wore shining armor of credibility, compassion, and character.”
–Alaska Gov. Jay Hammond
“Fanning was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who became editor of the Christian Science Monitor. She was in the process of writing her memoir, largely about her time at the Anchorage Daily News, when she died in 2000. Her daughter persuaded colleagues and friends to complete Fanning’s story by including their personal reminiscences of her career and achievements. This book, then, is partly the story of new life and love in the Last Frontier, and partly a tale of the inner workings and struggles of a daily newspaper. Fanning’s insights into the politics and personalities of Alaska in the pre-pipeline years are fascinating, as are her explanations of the many difficulties inherent in running a paper. It is odd that Fanning’s children did not offer their memories, particularly as they contributed so much financially to the Daily News’ success. Barring this absence, however, this is a memoir tightly told and a pleasingly gossipy look into how the news is written. Colleen Mondor”
–Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved. This text refers to the Hardcover edition, which is now out of print.
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