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  6.  | Shrinking Ink: Alaska Newspapers Cut Back on Printed Editions

Shrinking Ink: Alaska Newspapers Cut Back on Printed Editions

Jul 10, 2024 | Media & Arts, News

Photo Credit: Nodar77 | Envato

Daily printing is a thing of the past in Alaska’s largest newspaper markets. The Anchorage Daily News (ADN) is, as of July 15, daily on its website only. The Binkley Company, which has owned the paper since a 2017 bankruptcy, told readers to expect printed editions twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The change comes as the new owner of the Juneau Empire, Peninsula Clarion, and Homer News scales back printing as well.

Embracing Digital

ADN staff were warned in April that daily printing was nearing an end. On July 8, owner Ryan Binkley sent a message to subscribers announcing that the following Monday would be the first digital-only weekday edition. Print subscribers will continue to have access to content published every day at the website adn.com, along with an “e-edition” that replicates the layout and features of the print newspaper.

Binkley attached a chart that shows just 7 percent of ADN readers interact with the newspaper via print, while 93 percent use digital platforms. In addition, a graph of quarterly subscribers since 2018 shows a steady decline in print while digital subscriptions increased. The graph indicates that digital ADN subscribers surpassed print subscribers by the end of 2020, now totaling almost 19,000. That figure exceeds the number of print subscribers from 2018, while the remaining print subscriptions approximately equals the level of digital subscriptions from 2018.

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Alaska Business July 2024 Cover

July 2024

“Like you, we love the printed newspaper. But the reality is that nearly all readers clearly prefer to read the news online,” Binkley writes. “This is a strategic decision aimed at our long-term sustainability.”

Established in 1946, ADN had printed seven daily editions each week since adding Sundays in 1965. By 2017, under previous ownership, the company sought bankruptcy protection. When Binkley took over, the paper cut back to six weekly printings, eliminating the Saturday edition. At the same time, ADN’s in-house printing press was idled while the paper contracted with Arizona-based Wick Communications, owner of the Anchorage Press and the Frontiersman, to use its printing plant in Wasilla.

The Juneau Empire has been printed twice weekly since spring 2023. That paper is owned by Washington-based Sound Publishing, which was acquired in March by Mississippi-based Carpenter Media Group. Its previous Canadian owner had filed for bankruptcy.

Earlier this month, Sound Publishing announced that the Peninsula Clarion would cut back from printing on Wednesdays and Saturdays to printing one weekly edition on Fridays. According to the announcement, Sound and Carpenter “made this decision after careful thought and in recognition of a local and national media landscape that has seen changes in how both advertising and news content are consumed.” Like ADN, daily reporting continues online at peninsulaclarion.com.

The state’s second-largest paper by circulation, the Fairbanks Daily-News Miner, continues seven-day printing under the ownership of the Helen E. Snedden Foundation. The nonprofit established by the wife of former publisher Bill Snedden has owned the paper since 2016.

Alaska Business Magazine July 2024 cover
In This Issue
Best of Alaska Business 2024
July 2024
Welcome to the 2024 Best of Alaska Business special section! For the ninth time we invited our readers to tell us which Alaska businesses they love the most, this year in forty-four categories. Throughout the month of March, you told us who should be featured in these pages, and we're thrilled to be able to publish the results.
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