In the spirit of democracy, many young journalists hail Gretchen Weiss as the editor who exercised freedom of press.
Weiss, who was a biology student with no photography experience, dived in headfirst on a whim and applied for the photographer position at the Northern Light in 2007. From there she flourished and eventually became the executive editor.
In February 2009 Weiss and her staff launched what is still remembered as the “condom issue,” which had condoms taped to it.
“It was one of my favorite issues. We worked with the Alliance for Reproductive Justice and KRUA. And we had a big condom placement party with boxes and boxes of condoms,” Weiss said.
The issue featured a life-sized graphic of a glowing dildo and a feature on famous porn star Ron Jeremy.
Pushing bounds garnered Weiss’s staff at TNL an Associated Collegiate Press National Pacemaker award.
Weiss said she had a solid team at TNL, which included Craig Updegrove, who is now a designer for Bear Tooth and Moose’s Tooth, and Teeka Ballas, a co-founder of F Magazine.
After TNL, Weiss worked at the Anchorage Daily News. She said it was during a depressing time when ADN was downsizing and employees worked in the cafeteria.
She also co-founded F Magazine with Ballad.
Among many other ventures, Weiss moved to Texas where she tapped into TV studio productions but got bored.
Weiss returned to Alaska to pursue a career in one of her life-long passions. She attained a degree in education from the University of Wyoming well before she came to UAA. Weiss now works at the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. She spends her spare time enjoying life with her daughter who is in the second grade.
“I love what I do today,” Weiss said.