With mainstream media in steady decline over the past three decades, legacy news outlets in Kenai may take another financial hit next week. The Kenai Borough Assembly is set to vote on a proposal to repeal the requirement that it post in a local newspaper all delinquent sales tax lists.

In justifying the move, a memo in favor of the ordinance states that purchasing newspaper ads is “increasingly expensive for the Borough” because it is required to do “more and more” of the formatting and prepublication work for the newspaper.

“Additionally, it has been observed that actual printing of the lists on the newspaper inserts is not always legible,” the memo states. “Local newspapers, more and more, are moving to digital distribution themselves, even as the current definition in KPB code, requires the use of a newspaper printed on paper.”

The ordinance observes that “printed newspaper circulation has been in decline for many years.”

By nixing the print newspaper ad requirement, the borough estimates it will save about $2,480 per year.

The total number of print newspapers in the U.S. has dropped by nearly 30% since 2005 and the number of print journalists has fallen by almost 60% since 2006, according to a recent State of Local News report from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Additionally, annual newspaper profits have plummeted from $50 billion in 2006 to $21 billion, a 58% decline. Since 2019, 360 print newspapers have shuttered – about two each week.

Digital media, however, especially those that remain laser focused on original homegrown reporting, are doing better, as they provide fresh local content that cannot be accessed without directly visiting their news websites.

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Mainstream media in decline: Kenai borough aims to nix newspaper ads

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Greg in Homer says:

    Legacy media is on the way out, but new media could suffer the same fate. Especially those outlets that alienate their readers by deleting any post critical of Senator Lisa Murkowski.

  • Steve says:

    Oh great they’re stepping over dollars to pickup dimes. I’m sure I can find a lot more high dollar projects to cut unnecessary spending and sponsorships.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    The ADN is a far far left new paper that nobody reads. The local kenai news is small scale.
    Just put there ads, information in the
    Watchman, where real conservatives can see there ads

  • CD says:

    Is there anybody else concerned that we are losing news on paper? It is not harder to destroy paper circulation than news through the computer? With free speech already be censored by tech giants like Facebook there should not be such a rush to move away from paper.