Government & Politics

Former Kansas City Mayor Funkhouser’s magazine, GOVERNING, to shutter in September

Mark Funkhouser, former mayor of Kansas City.
Mark Funkhouser, former mayor of Kansas City. The Kansas City Star

GOVERNING, the Washington-based magazine run by former Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser, will shut down after its September issue, the publication’s editors announced in a post Wednesday.

The editors, including Funkhouser, said in a post on the magazine’s website that it had become “unsustainable as a business in today’s media environment,” echoing countless other publications that have struggled to stay afloat in recent decades.

“We will cease publication of the monthly print magazine after September, and we will be ramping down our web presence and the rest of our operations over the next few months,” the letter says.

GOVERNING covers local and state government across the country, including issues of “public finance, transportation, economic development, health, energy, the environment and technology,” according to its website. Founded in 1987, it has a circulation around 85,000.

Editors said in the letter they were “extremely proud of the work that GOVERNING” has done.

“We have endeavored to cover the issues that matter most to states and cities and counties, and to do it with journalistic integrity and in a way that resonates with our readers in the public sector,” the letter says. “Governing has the greatest readers in this business — men and women who have made it their life’s work to improve the lives of the people who live in their communities. It has been an honor to serve them, and to help tell their stories.”

The letter goes on to say there has been tremendous financial, political and social change in the time that GOVERNING was in business.

“And states and local governments are again at an important time of upheaval,” the letter says. “We have loved chronicling that incredible work for the past three decades, and we’re confident that the tremendous work of America’s state and local public servants will go on.”

Funkhouser served as mayor from 2007 to 2011, but he was ousted in the 2011 mayoral primary by Mike Burke and now-former Mayor Sly James. James went on to win the general election that year and again in 2015.

After losing re-election, Funkhouser went to work for the Governing Institute before becoming publisher of the magazine.

Funkhouser did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Allison Kite reports on City Hall and local politics for The Star. She joined the paper in February 2018 and covered Midterm election races on both sides of the state line. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with minors in economics and public policy from the University of Kansas.