Audit Bureau of Circulations reports Anchorage Daily News paid circulation at 43,794 as of September 30, 2011 (though the newspaper's website posting today notes "yesterday 159,853 visitors viewed adn.com"). The Anchorage Daily News circulation for September 30, 2008, the month when Palin officially become the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, was 61,882. In three years more than 18,000 subscribers left.
The September 1, 2008, Anchorage Daily News ran a nice "isn't this great" lower front page story (with photo) on Palin's parents dealing with the upheaval in their life because of her nomination ("World's Gaze Falls on Wasilla, Palin's Folks: Amid Swarm, Chuck Heath says: 'I just hate not being hospitable'). It even ran a quarter column top of the front page Associated Press article about her qualifications ("Is Palin Qualified? Just Look Says GOP: REASONS: Proximity to Russia, Mayoral Experience Cited"). Imagine that. Proximity to Russia was accepted by Associated Press as a real qualification pre-Charlie Gibson.
The next day saw the beginning of the Anchorage Daily News' growing disenchantment with all things Palin. On September 2 there was a front page banner headline running the full width of the paper on Bristol's pregnancy ("Pregnancy Steals Spotlight") with a back page story on the difficulty of finding Alaskans who could substantiate her vetting ("VETTING: It's tough to find Alaskans who were queried about Palin").
From then on the Anchorage Daily News began to take a much tougher stance (sometimes almost childishly so) on Palin. The iciness was well expressed by Anchorage Daily News former editorial page editor Michael Carey less than a month after Palin's nomination.
"Sarah Palin may be making new friends as she campaigns the nation, but at home, she's making new enemies. She better get elected vice president. If she returns to Alaska as governor, the reception will be frosty -- and not because winter has arrived.The Anchorage Daily News' three year circulation drop rate is twice as bad as that of, for example, the Oregonian (circulation down 14.31% in three years).
"In the last month, Palin has become something inconceivable during her first two years as the state's chief executive: A polarizing figure rapidly emptying the storehouse of good will she accumulated."
Maybe Alaskan readers noticed the Anchorage Daily News growing more and more "frosty" in its unfairness toward Palin. Something to think about anyway.