Beginning May 3, the Juneau Empire is reducing the print frequency of the newspaper and scaling up its digital content.
The change reflects a growing emphasis on timely online coverage of the region. At the same time the Empire will now be publishing the printed paper two days a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The paper is also shifting its print production to a facility in Lakewood, Washington.
Publisher David Rigas said the changes are necessary to ensure the paper continues its valued role in the community.
“This is a significant change in the way the voice of Alaska’s capital city does business and it’s not something we take lightly,” Rigas said. “However, it’s a change that needs to happen and one that will mean improved presentation of local news.”
Empire employees and key community stakeholders received the news ahead of the publication of this article. The Empire’s outgoing press team were offered an opportunity to continue their craft in both Washington and Alaska in light of these changes.
Empire managing editor Ben Hohenstatt said the Empire’s digital content is far outpacing readership for the print edition, which is spurring the changes.
“This will ultimately be positive for both our readers and the newsroom,” Hohenstatt said. “I have an affinity for analog media, but this lets us work based on when news is happening, not when the paper needs to be printed, and that can result in more timely, interesting reporting reaching people where the growing majority of our readers are.”
Hohenstatt added he understands printed publications are still well-liked.
“I like to think of the print edition of the paper as being like a vinyl record,” he said. “People still like that physical experience and we plan to deliver print-readers a quality publication.”
Rigas says the change in printing location and frequency also gives the paper additional financial stability.
“Printing a physical edition of the paper has long come at a cost greater than the $1.50 or $2 per edition you see on the front page, and recently we’ve seen that cost rise quickly,” Rigas said. “I’m committed to this paper and this market, and this is a move that keeps my commitment to both.”
Most five-day print subscribers will see a reduction to their subscription rate and many long-time online subscribers will also see reductions.
Subscribers who have concerns about their account can call (907) 586-3740. The Empire’s editorial, advertising and circulation offices are located at 8800 Glacier Highway, Suite 219.
Plans to mark this transition with an event at our printing press are being finalized.
“We hope to see you there,” Rigas said.