Death of print news: Weekend Empire was last to be printed in Juneau

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On Friday evening, the Juneau Empire‘s printing press spit out the final edition to be printed in Juneau, and then rumbled to a stop. The weekend newspaper would be the last before the press is dismantled and shipped south on a barge for a final decision on its future — to be sold for scrap or to some newspaper that wants to risk such an investment.

The Juneau Empire has moved to twice-a-week print editions that will be printed in Pierce County, Washington and flown to Juneau for Wednesday and Saturday delivery via the U.S. Postal Service.

The Goss brand press was originally situated in the old Alaska Light and Power building in downtown Juneau, but was moved to the Empire’s new building on Channel Drive in 1986. The Empire has downsized since the early 2000s, and moved out of those waterfront offices in 2021, as Morris Communications sold the building to Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. The newspaper, which is now owned by Sound Publishing, then leased back the ground floor area where the massive press is located. That lease expires at the end of May, the newspaper reported.

Moving to two times a week, with out-of-state printing and Juneau’s famously variable weather and flight schedules, may prove challenging to the capital city newspaper, which is downsized from a newsroom of more than 22 in 2000 to just three or four people in 2023.

16 COMMENTS

  1. The Empire is a study in how to do everything wrong. Hopefully lessons can be learned from this.

    When I first moved to Juneau it was a great way to start learning about CBJ. But over the years the quality of everything fell to pieces.

    The lack of local reporting on events people cared about. Favoritism towards certain local entities and a refusal to report negatively about them. Sloppy errors in grammar.
    And much, much more.

    It could and should have been the voice of SE, but never figured out who to compete with local radio.

    The Empire made the most common and fatal mistake a business can make: not knowing what business they were in.

    The Empire thought they were in the newspaper business. They were, actually, in the information business. This kept them from making the sort of strategic decisions necessary to survive and thrive.

    I hate this, but it was inevitable. Live in CBJ long enough you meet a bunch of Empire employees. The only saving grace for them is most saw the handwriting on the wall and bailed.

    There is zero point in flying in two editions a week at this point. Just wasting money.

  2. If our State capitol moved to south central (or Nome) , it would still have newspaper coverage.
    Does AK now have the only State Capitol w/out newspaper coverage?

  3. The Fairbanks Daily Newsminer will be next on the chopping block. They currently only get it into my paper box about three times per week. And I’m still paying full subscription delivery rate.

    • My paper box too. Even the parakeet is complaining about the lack of thickness at the bottom of the cage.

  4. Good riddance to bad rubbish. It joins the Peninsula Clarion and the ADN as to what happens when you print LIES. Watch to see what would happen to the circulation and ad revenue if a truly CONSERVATIVE newspaper was printed.

  5. … being printed in Washington (?), sounds like the Empire is on extreme “life support”!

    … in other news …
    … for the Chugach Board of Directors:
    … YES for – Authier – Chastain – Hollis;
    … and a BIG NO for the green ticket of – Kilcoyne – Fleek Green – Norland …

  6. It’s funny how the world has changed. I started working as a Paper Boy for the Empire in 1968. I moved up the ladder from Paper Boy to the distribution room until I left around 1970. The working conditions at the Empire then would be chargeable as child abuse in today’s world. But hey, it was the only job in town for a kid and I am thankful looking back for the experience.

    The Scumpire, was always a shoestring gypo outfit until Billy Morris bought them around 1972. Mr. Morris liked to fish and also had an affection for the Last Frontier.
    Morris , a Southerner may have felt a connection towards Alaska from a re-constrution point of view? I dunno, he however spent a ton of dough building the new Empire edifice during the bottom of the Oil Bust in ’86- ’87 and adorned the place with Art Work. Seems technology and a disconnection from local to Global news via the internet fouled the Empires hull. In the end worms devour every old hulk that is cast adrift without forward momentum.
    Carl Sampson and Suzanne were the last of the best of the Empire. Suzanne has carried her talent forward, not sure where Carl is?

  7. Anchorage should be so lucky. However the AD fish wrapper is intended to operate at a loss. Soros has been propping it up for years.

  8. The Empire has become a voice for climate change Liberals so how does this make sense? Cut down trees to produce paper, petroleum distillates for the ink, petroleum lubricants for the printers, loaded onto trucks to the airport, flown up to Juneau, delivered by mail trucks, read once (maybe), then tossed into the landfill. Great!

    • Ah have a dream!

      Discourage all of your visitors from those clowns and their FBX paddle wheel ride.

  9. Any print newspaper still being produced anywhere in America is in denial. Whale oil lamps, buggy whips, horse-drawn plows, CRT’s, fax machines, slide rules … all faded away. Its past time for print news to follow. We need to get over it. Libraries and the US Postal Service are next to go. Trying to hang onto them is a fool’s errand…. just like Blockbuster tried to hang onto renting videos physically.

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