“I produced a steady flow of stories that played on the front page,” he wrote in his 2012 memoir, “Write Hard, Die Free,” whose title borrowed from the Hells Angels motto “Ride hard, die free.” “Every day was Christmas.”
After winning the 1976 Pulitzer with the reporters Bob Porterfield and Jim Babb, Mr. Weaver left the foundering Daily News to launch a statewide investigative weekly, The Alaska Advocate, which targeted oil and gas exploration companies and the conservative Anchorage Times, the state’s largest paper.
The Advocate folded within a few years, but The Daily News survived, thanks to a financial infusion from the McClatchy newspaper chain, which bought the paper in 1979, and the oil boom that bolstered the city’s economy. Mr. Weaver, 29, returned as its editor, embarking on a cutthroat competition with The Times, which claimed about 46,000 readers to The Daily News’s 11,000.
His editorial strategy was straightforward: “Reader centered, philosophically transparent and intellectually aggressive.” By 1987, The Daily News had overtaken its rival in circulation, although both papers were losing money.
After The Times folded in 1992, Mr. Weaver took a year off to earn a Master of Philosophy degree in polar studies from the University of Cambridge. He then moved to McClatchy headquarters in California, where he managed the company’s transition to digital media, wrote editorials for The Sacramento Bee and became the vice president for news, overseeing the editorial operation of the company’s 31 newspapers from 2001 to 2008, when he retired to a ranch near Sacramento.