The Kenai Peninsula-Clarion is reducing its print editions to two days a week, starting May 3.
The Clarion is owned by Sound Publishing, the same news company that owns the Juneau Empire, which is also moving to a twice-a-week print edition. The newspapers will be focusing more on their online news offerings, as the printed word becomes more expensive to produce and distribute, and as more readers adapt to a 24-hour digital news cycle.
The economics of printing just two days a week are uncertain at best. The fewer the people who subscribe to newsprint editions and the fewer the copies that are printed, the more expensive it becomes maintain staff to print the small number of copies and distribute those papers, as subscribers become spread out and paper deliverers can not make enough money to make it worth doing a route. Eventually, newspapers will shut their presses down altogether. In Juneau and in Kenai, the newspapers will be printed in the Seattle area, and flown up to Alaska, adding weather and flight delays to the mix that may make it increasingly an impractical option.
Some newspapers have not chosen to experiment with this bridge to the future, but to make the leap altogether. For example, on Feb. 26, The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and Mobile’s Press-Register stopped printing altogether, and moved online.