Much of “Alaska Daily” is inspired by the real-life Anchorage Daily News, which, along with the nonprofit ProPublica, devoted two years to raising awareness about sexual violence issues in Alaska — something reporters said didn’t get the media attention it deserved. On “Alaska Daily,” Eileen Fitzgerald and her colleague Rosalind “Roz” Friendly (Grace Dove) similarly attempt to seek justice for grieving loved ones who are given no answers or closure.
In an interview with the Paley Center for Media, Tom McCarthy shared that a show that sheds light on the everyday life of journalists both in and out of the office hasn’t been done in a long time. His goal is to “humanize” journalists and give audiences a sense of “who they are, what makes them tick, and why they do the work they do.” For example, reporter Yuna Park (Ami Park) is deeply concerned that her story might ruin a man’s life, but feels obligated to tell her community about his corrupt dealings. McCarthy also wants Alaska Daily viewers to remember the importance of small-town journalism.
“Journalists are some of the most interesting people I know,” he said. “They are incredibly curious, incredibly passionate. They really care about the people and the things they write about.” McCarthy added, “Our country is so big and so diverse. If we lose that, we lose a very big part of who we are.”
According to a New York Times report, newspapers have been in decline for some time. Over 2,500 have been switched off since 2005, and the trend is rising. But without the work of these reporters, important stories — like the Anchorage Daily News’ revelation that 70 Alaskan communities lack law enforcement — would go untold.