Archive for Press Coverage

STOPP STATEMENT ON U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION’S RULING TO REVERSE THE NEWSPRINT TAX

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers (STOPP), a coalition of printers, publishers, retailers, paper suppliers and distributors, today welcomed the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) decision to terminate duties currently being applied to uncoated groundwood paper, or newsprint, imports from Canada and issued the following statements:

“Today is a great day for American journalism. The ITC’s decision will help to preserve the vitality of local newspapers and prevent additional job losses in the printing and publishing sectors,” said David Chavern, president and CEO, News Media Alliance. “The end of these unwarranted tariffs means local newspapers can focus once again on playing a vital role in our democracy by keeping citizens informed and connected to the daily life of their communities.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on uncoated groundwood paper made in Canada in response to a petition filed by North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC), a paper mill located in Longview, Washington. Following an in-depth investigation, the ITC rejected NORPAC’s claim that it was facing injury from alleged unfair trade practices by Canada. The ITC’s ruling that U.S. newsprint producers were not materially harmed by subject imports from Canada effectively puts an end to protective tariffs that the Commerce Department imposed earlier this year and revised just this month.

“From the start, we knew this tax on newsprint would immediately harm commercial printing companies, book printers, service companies, equipment suppliers and ultimately, consumers,” said Michael Makin, president and CEO, Printing Industries of America. “After analyzing the facts, the ITC has issued the right decision to protect American jobs across the country. Small businesses that are part of the printing industry can breathe a sigh of relief.”

Newsprint used by U.S. newspapers and commercial printers consists of two-thirds of uncoated groundwood paper. The spike in the cost of paper prompted harm across the industry − and forced many local newspapers to scale back reporting and reduce the number of editions they publish. The tariffs also repressed demand by small businesses that use printed advertising inserts and flyers to reach customers.

In the face of the threat to 600,000 American jobs in the newspaper, retail, printing and publishing industries, a broad and diverse coalition pursued all available avenues to advocate that public officials help put an end to the tariffs, including a petition signed by more than 11,000 Americans from all 50 states. Roughly 150 Members of Congress expressed opposition to the tariffs with letters to key Administration officials, testimony delivered before the ITC, or co-sponsorship of legislation in the House and Senate. In addition, Both the Teamsters and the Communication Workers of America wrote letters opposing the tariffs, along with many others.

Learn more about STOPP’s campaign to #StoptheNewsprintTax here.

 

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Don’t just reduce newsprint tariffs; eliminate them (Editorial)

Syracuse, California


By Editorial Board
(August 9, 2018)

The Trump administration reduced tariffs on newsprint that are damaging our fragile industry, but it should have gone farther and eliminated them altogether.

Now, our hopes for an end to the tariffs rest on the International Trade Commission, which will decide an appeal later this month.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Commerce Department slapped punitive tariffs – as high as 22 percent — on specialty paper made in Canada. It was acting on a complaint from a single paper mill in the Pacific Northwest. The decision ignored the fact that newsprint production is practically non-existent in the eastern United States, due to the decline of the print newspaper industry over the past 10 years and the rise in demand for paperboard boxes driven by online retailers like Amazon.

The tariffs have done a lot of damage already, leading to layoffs and reduced print offerings in cities like Buffalo and Tampa. Small community newspapers are especially vulnerable to the spike in newsprint costs. It’s not an exaggeration to say some of them will go out of business if the tariffs stand. That would be a devastating loss to their communities and to the health of our democracy, which depends on a free and vibrant press to inform citizens and to be a government watchdog.

Sen. Charles Schumer and our delegation in the House of Representatives have been fighting to get the tariffs eliminated. They succeeded in getting the tariffs reduced, to a maximum of 16.88 percent. It should be zero because there is no economic justification for a tariff of any amount.

Now, lobbying efforts shift to the U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent federal agency. We urge the commission to cancel the newsprint tariffs altogether.

View the full article here

EDITORIAL: Trump administration eases newsprint tariffs

Las Vegas, Nevada


(August 4, 2018)

The Trump administration eased back somewhat from its proposed tariffs on Canadian newsprint, which could further devastate newspapers, particularly smaller ones. But the U.S. International Trade Commission, which has

the final say, should kill the taxes entirely when it hears the matter later this month.
The case arose from a complaint by a lone Washington paper mill owned by a New York hedge fund. The North Pacific Paper Co. argued Canada was unfairly subsidizing its producers, allowing them to undercut American companies. In response, the Commerce Department implemented tariffs in January of up to 22 percent on Canadian imports.

Newsprint is traditionally the second-largest cost for most publishers. During a time when print publications are struggling to meet the challenges of a digital market, the higher costs threaten to further drag down a variety of interests, particularly community newspapers, which play a vital role in keeping small-town and rural residents informed.

Several newspapers, including the Salt Lake Tribune, have already blamed layoffs or page cuts on the tariffs. The reality remains that while protectionism may indeed save domestic jobs in some industries — steel, for instance — the benefits too often outweigh the significant costs for consumers and workers in other sectors of the economy.

In Thursday’s announcement, the Trump administration revealed a handful of modifications. It will now spare two Canadian paper companies from the tariff while imposing a duty of 22 percent on another company. Remaining producers north of the border will face tariffs of up to 9.81 percent.
While an improvement, the adjustments don’t go far enough. The trade commission has the opportunity to roll back the tax at its next meeting. It makes no sense for the federal government to financially burden the already struggling publishing industry in an effort to shield a lone Washington paper mill from Canadian competition.

If the trade commission fails to kill the levies, however, Congress should act. A bipartisan bill proposed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has 20 co-sponsors and would put the tariffs on ice until the completion of an economic impact study. Identical legislation has support in the House. Nevada’s congressional delegation should jump on board to help ensure the measures move forward.

View the full article here

STATEMENT ON U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE’S FINAL NEWSPRINT COUNTERVAILING AND ANTIDUMPING DECISION

WASHINGTON–Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers (STOPP), a coalition of printers, publishers, retailers, paper suppliers and distributors today released the following statements regarding the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final determination on uncoated groundwood paper imports from Canada.

“These import duties on newsprint have already caused job losses in the printing and publishing sectors and have resulted in decreased news coverage in local communities,” said David Chavern, president and CEO, News Media Alliance. “Although this is a step in the right direction, the reduced rates only lessen the pace at which the tariffs are harming the industry. We hope that the International Trade Commission will entirely reverse these misguided tariffs at the end of the month.”

Newsprint used by U.S. newspapers and commercial printers consists of two-thirds of uncoated groundwood paper. This claim was filed by North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC), a single paper mill located in Longview, Washington, owned by a New York private equity firm. NORPAC is an outlier−the rest of the U.S. paper industry opposes the tariffs due to the deep and lasting harm to the industry’s primary customers−newspapers, book publishers and printers.

“We appreciate Commerce’s slight reduction in tariffs; however, commercial printing companies, book printers, suppliers and consumers will still pay a price with increased costs and less business, which will hurt our member companies, their employees, and ultimately U.S. newsprint manufacturers. We hope the International Trade Commission will reverse this tax on paper,” said Michael Makin, president and CEO, Printing Industries of America.

“Readers in our towns will welcome the news that their local newspapers are in a little less in jeopardy from devastating tariffs. We appreciate the Commerce Department’s more careful review of the paper markets. But this use of trade laws to weaken our economies still puts communities at risk of losing their local newspapers. We are extremely disappointed to find that the federal government wants to permanently add a tax to our burden when so many publishers are already challenged to deliver the news to their towns. We hope the International Trade Commission better appreciates the gravity of this situation,” said Susan Rowell, president of National Newspaper Association and publisher of the Lancaster (SC) News.

A broad and diverse chorus continues to grow in opposition to the newsprint tariffs that threaten the jobs of 600,000 American workers in the newspaper, retail, printing and publishing industries.

  • More than 11,000 Americans, from all 50 states, have registered their opposition in a petition delivered to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
  • Nineteen members of Congress testified before the ITC on July 17. In addition, five Congressional Members and three state delegations submitted letters and comments.
  • Both the Teamsters and the Communication Workers of America have written letters opposing the tariffs, along with many others.
  • More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate from across the political spectrum have written letters objecting to these tariffs.
  • Nearly one-third of U.S. Senators have co-sponsored 2835 requesting the U.S. Department of Commerce to pause the tariffs for an impact study.
  • Support for the like House legislation R. 6031 continues to grow with 36 co-sponsors.

In total, approximately 150 Members of Congress have shown opposition with either a call, letter or co-sponsoring legislation.

There are numerous examples of how the tariffs are already harming the U.S. news, printing and publishing industries. If the tariffs continue, many local community newspapers will continue to cut back on the number of distribution days, reduce print pages or cease printing operations. Advertisers, with no room to expand budgets, will continue to reduce advertising inserts. And these decisions will cause a ripple effect throughout the supply chain, affecting paper manufacturers, ink suppliers, fuel producers, equipment manufacturers and others.

In some cases, tariffs help U.S. producers. However, these tariffs have exacerbated the decades-long decline in newsprint demand, financially harming U.S. newsprint producers. A study, undertaken by Charles River Associates (CRA) on behalf of STOPP Coalition members the News Media Alliance and Quad Graphics, was submitted to the ITC in advance of the hearing on Tuesday, July 17. CRA analyzed the impact the tariffs will have on newspapers and printers. They found that:

  • Newsprint prices are projected to increase by more than 30 percent or more than $190 per metric ton for newsprint;
  • Consumers, including newspapers and printers, will pay an increased cost of roughly a half a billion dollars for newsprint;
  • Demand from U.S. producers for newsprint will drop more than 300,000 metric tonnes;  and,
  • An estimated loss of more than 250 U.S. newsprint jobs could follow a short spike in employment.

The ITC will conclude its final investigation in the coming weeks with a vote scheduled on August 29 to affirm or reverse the tariffs.

“It is truly unfortunate that the Department of Commerce chose not to fully recognize the impact that these tariffs will have – indeed already are having – on our members and other community-focused newspapers. AAN members are not just concerned, but scared, about their ability to print their newspapers and inform their readers about matters of local concern. Many have already been informed that printing costs will increase, which translates into fewer employees, fewer pages or, worse, inability to publish entirely.  We hope that the International Trade Commission will recognize the urgency of this situation and go a step further by significantly reducing or entirely eliminating these tariffs when it acts later this year,” said Molly Willmott, President, Association of Alternative Newsmedia.

“We are very disappointed that the Department of Commerce, in offering only a slight reduction in the overall tariffs, continues to prioritize the interest of a few ahead of the needs of many – namely the employees of printers, publishers, paper suppliers and distributors across the United States and the citizenry they ultimately help to inform. We in the newspaper industry exist to serve our readers; this decision will make our jobs harder, in part because we know we will be able to employ fewer people to do those jobs. We sincerely hope the International Trade Commission will fully eliminate these tariffs,” said Alfredo Carbajal, President, American Society of News Editors.

“Notwithstanding the small adjustments announced today, the Association for Printing Technologies stands with its colleagues in the printing, publishing and paper industries in opposing the continued harmful imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian UGW paper by the Department of Commerce, and implores the International Trade Commission to end the ongoing damage of these debilitating tariffs by finding against their imposition,” said Mark J. Nuzzaco, Vice President, Government Affairs for the Association for Print Technologies.

Learn more about STOPP’s campaign to #StoptheNewsprintTax here.

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Impact of Newsprint Tariffs Felt Across the Country

There are numerous examples of how the tariffs are already harming newspapers across the country. If the tariffs continue, many local community newspapers will continue to cut back on the number of distribution days, reduce print pages or cease printing operations. The future of local newspapers, read by millions of Americans in all 50 states are in jeopardy as a result of the newsprint tariffs.

Examples like the below will only continue to grow.

NEWSPAPERS CUT JOBS

Florida

The Tampa Bay Times reduces jobs due to tariffs
http://thehill.com/homenews/media/383879-tampa-bay-times-to-lay-off-dozens-of-staff-in-response-to-trump-tariffs

NEWSPAPERS CUT PUBLICATION DAYS

Colorado

The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel reduces printing from 7 to 5 days
https://www.gjsentinel.com/news/western_colorado/paper-prices-trigger-changes-to-the-sentinel/article_52b13218-87f4-11e8-9b2b-10604b9ffe60.html

Georgia

The LaGrange Daily News will change print publication days to Tuesday through Saturday, no longer producing a Monday printed edition.

https://www.lagrangenews.com/2018/08/21/ldn-to-stop-printing-monday-edition/

Kentucky

Three newspapers in Kentucky cut Monday from weekly print editions.
https://www.state-journal.com/2018/08/10/steve-stewart-state-journal-adapts-secures-its-future/

Maryland

The Star Democrat cuts Monday print production.
https://www.stardem.com/spotlight/star-democrat-to-launch-monday-e-edition/article_ea96d48b-f7e9-54c7-ae41-623d39a696dc.html

The Cecil Whig cuts production down to two days a week.
https://www.cecildaily.com/business/whig-publishes-last-monday-print-edition/article_4f724bae-6df6-5f4d-8ae0-132e423ea82b.html

Minnesota

The West Central Tribune is cutting its Monday print edition.

http://wctrib.com/business/announcements/4485194-tribune-going-digital-mondays

Mississippi

The (Natchez) Democrat cutting printing from 7 to 5 days
http://irjci.blogspot.com/2018/06/newspapers-cut-back-as-newsprint.html

The Vicksburg Post cutting printing from 7 to 5 days
https://www.vicksburgpost.com/2018/06/24/vicksburg-post-reducing-print-publication-frequency/

Nevada

The Lahontan Valley News from 2 days to 1 day

The Nevada Appeal from 6 to 2 days

The Record-Courier from 3 to 2 days

The Tahoe Tribune from 3 to 1 day
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/nevada/articles/2018-07-03/northern-nevada-area-newspapers-reducing-print-editions

North Carolina

The Salisbury Post will print five days a week.
https://apnews.com/10879f1a02604ed8a5b672adfab368f6

Ohio

The Athens Messenger eliminating the Saturday edition

https://www.athensmessenger.com/news_briefs/changes-coming-to-weekend-messenger-print-schedule/article_4d812b61-bb25-5e41-a354-4ffcf52d761a.html

Oklahoma

Perry Daily Journal from printing 6 to 4 days

The Shawnee News-Star cutting to 2 days per week until school resumes

Virginia

The Suffolk News-Herald will reduce the frequency of its print edition to five days a week.
https://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2018/08/07/news-herald-to-reduce-print-frequency/

NEWSPAPERS CUT SECTIONS OF THE PAPER

Mississippi

The Star-Herald will reduce a 20-page paper to a 16-page paper.
https://www.starherald.com/opinion/editorial-changes-coming-friday/article_21c32796-1eea-5167-b26c-f137f960bb26.html

North Carolina

The Robesonian cutting the Sunday comics
https://www.robesonian.com/news/113746/newspaper-drops-sunday-comics


NEWSPAPERS MOVE FROM PRINT TO DIGITAL 

Ohio

Madison Press goes digital
http://www.dispatch.com/business/20180711/madison-press-newspaper-in-london-to-drop-print-edition-publish-online-only

 


NEWSPAPERS CLOSE

Ohio

The Jackson County Times-Journal closed
https://ohionews.org/aws/ONA/pt/sd/news_article/179320/_self/layout_details/false

Minnesota

The Raymond News has closed.

Blooming Prairie Leader will be publishing its last issue soon.

 

CBS This Morning Newspaper Tariffs

(August 1st, 2018)

View the full video here

Newsprint Tariff May Be Costly To Everyone

Yankton, South Dakota


(July 30, 2018)

America’s newspapers are coping with the painful fallout of this chaotic age of tariffs and trade wars.
As reported in Saturday’s Press & Dakotan, the United States has imposed tariffs of more than 30 percent on Canadian newsprint, which has resulted in a sharp spike in prices for the paper upon which newspapers are printed. That is creating the specter of personnel layoffs for newspapers and printing plants — or worse, the closure of some newspapers, especially those that serve small, rural communities.

That’s why press associations and lawmakers in South Dakota and Nebraska, as well as states across the nation, are sounding the alarm about this tariff, the blame for which can really be placed on one company in the Pacific Northwest.

The Trump Administration imposed the tariff at the behest of the North Pacific Paper Company, a newsprint producer in Washington state. The company charges that Canada’s subsidizing of its newsprint industry (which is done because a great deal of the logging comes from federal forests) amounts to giving Canadian mills an unfair advantage by allowing them to market newsprint below cost in the U.S. market. Newspapers here purchase 75 percent of their newsprint from Canadian mills.

The results are potentially devastating. In particular, it may well sound a death knell for numerous weekly newspapers that serve small towns and are really the only form of local coverage these markets have.
“… I’ve had a few very small newspapers say this may be the final nail in the coffin,” said Dave Bordewyk, president of the South Dakota Newspaper Association. “They’ll be forced to close their doors because they can no longer continue their publications. They can’t deal with those kinds of price increases, particularly so quickly.”

This tariff is a threat not only to the livelihood of newspapers, but also to the people who count on the printed product for their information on what’s happening in their community and what their local governing bodies are doing.

In that sense, it is, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) put it, an economic assault on the spirit of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the people’s right to know.

It can also have costly consequences — literally — in other areas.

A study released earlier this month by the Brookings Institute indicated that the closure of local newspapers, particularly in areas where there are relatively few newspapers serving the citizens (i.e. rural areas), can increase local government borrowing costs. Explaining the statistical phenomenon, the authors of the study theorized that “closing local newspapers increase government borrowing costs because (1) less information is publicly available, and (2) local officials are no longer monitored as closely, reducing the quality of governance.” The study indicated that the removal of newspapers from markets is related to the “deterioration in many government efficiency metrics, including government wage rates, government employees per capita and tax dollars per capita.”

The study also found that “alternative sources of media, such as the internet, are not acting as sufficient substitutes for local papers.”

So, there is much more at stake in this tariff fight than the rising cost of paper upon which a newspaper is printed. It can also impact your right to know and your right to decide on issues impacting you.

This issue is producing a rare bipartisan moment in Congress, with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers speaking out against this measure and warning of the impact it may have on local journalism in numerous communities.

“In rural areas lacking reliable Internet access, newspapers remain a trusted source of information for our constituents,” South Dakota’s congressional delegation wrote in a joint letter opposing the tariffs. “Because of this, rural businesses rely more heavily on printed news than other places for advertising.”

This tariff, driven by just one U.S. company, may have disastrous consequences that range far beyond the financial confines of the newspaper industry. It is a mistake, and it should be repealed by the U.S. International Trade Commission before those consequences become all too real and possibly irreversible.

View the full article here

Stopping The Presses?

Yankton, South Dakota

By Randy Dockendorf

(July 27, 2018)

Dave Bordewyk grew up around weekly newspapers, including a stint as editor for his brother’s Douglas County publications.

But because of newsprint tariffs, Bordewyk fears a number of weekly newspapers may not survive much longer. And many daily newspapers are also struggling with soaring newsprint costs.

Bordewyk sees the problem firsthand as executive director of the South Dakota Newspaper Association (SDNA). The organization, headquartered in Brookings, represents the state’s 125 daily and weekly newspapers.

“I have been talking to some publishers of weekly newspapers who have had their newsprint bills go up tremendously,” he said. “The Grant County Review in Milbank said its newsprint cost went up 15 percent this spring, and they’re looking at another double-digit increase later this summer.”

Those rapid, large increases are hitting newspapers hard during an already tough rural economy, he said.
“Translated for weekly newspapers, those increases mean anywhere from $50 to $200 a week,” he said. “You may think, ‘It’s only $50 a week.’ But when you take it over 52 weeks a year, it really adds up for a small newspaper.”

Those newspapers can’t fully absorb the cost increases or easily pass them along to subscribers and advertisers, he said.

“As a result, I’ve had a few very small newspapers say this may be the final nail in the coffin,” he said. “They’ll be forced to close their doors because they can no longer continue their publications. They can’t deal with those kinds of price increases, particularly so quickly.”

Numerous daily newspapers are also feeling the economic squeeze, Bordewyk said.

“One publisher said, for every order of newsprint, it was an additional $1,200 per truckload just as a result of the tariff,” he said.

South Dakota newspapers are hit especially hard because most of them purchase their newsprint from Canada, which has been slapped with the tariff, Bordewyk said.

He clarified one misconception surrounding the newsprint tariffs.

“The tariffs went into effect earlier this year and were not initiated by the Trump Administration,” he said. “People confuse things and believe this is part of the new Trump tariffs. They connect the issue to the president, but this is a separate matter.”

The Commerce Department imposed the tariffs last March on Canadian newsprint, or uncoated groundwood newspaper. The department initiated the tariffs in response to a complaint from the North Pacific Paper Company, a mill in Washington State.

Bordewyk emphasized the tariffs weren’t sought by other United States paper mills.

“This is brought about because of a single company,” he said. “It alleged that Canada was unfairly dumping newsprint onto the American market and that Canada subsidized production of (its nation’s) newsprint.”

The Canadian newsprint comes from logging on federal lands, which accounts for the Canadian government’s role in the industry, he noted.

AWAITING A DECISION

The issue may come to a head within a few weeks. The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) held a hearing last week in Washington on whether the newsprint tariffs should continue.
The ITC expects to make a decision later this summer.

Nineteen members of Congress spoke against the tariffs on Canadian newsprint, telling the ITC the import tax hurts local newspapers.

The South Dakota congressional delegation — U.S. Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem — submitted a joint statement opposing the preliminary duties. They urged the rejection of the tariffs imposed on the import of certain Canadian paper, including newsprint.

The letter noted the newsprint tariffs already exert a negative impact on South Dakota newspapers.
“The preliminary duties have been bad enough, and additional final duties have the potential to devastate rural newspapers in South Dakota,” they wrote.

“In rural areas lacking reliable Internet access, newspapers remain a trusted source of information for our constituents. Because of this, rural businesses rely more heavily on printed news than other places for advertising.

“Should newsprint prices continue to increase, rural newspapers will be forced to charge advertisers more and/or pass the increased costs onto their readers.”

The practical level for such action has been reached — and even exceeded — by most publications, the delegation wrote in its statement.

“Potential closures (of newspapers) not only would cost precious jobs in South Dakota’s rural communities but also would leave our constituents without access to a principal source of information,” they wrote.

“In short, our local communities and industry have become the victim of the trade remedies that are intended to protect them.”

SDNA is a member of STOPP, a nationwide coalition of publishers and printers fighting the newsprint tariffs. STOPP estimates the tariffs threaten more than 600,000 jobs in the U.S. printing and publishing industry.

SEEKING RELIEF

SDNA members met recently with Rounds and with Thune and Noem staffers in Washington.
In a column, Rounds noted the tariffs are climbing as high as 32 percent and “would be devastating to South Dakota newspapers.”

The South Dakota publications, and many others across the nation, are caught in an economic vise grip, Rounds wrote.

“Around 75 percent of newsprint used to print papers in the United States comes from Canada,” the senator wrote. “During our meeting, SDNA (members) told me that a semi-truck load of 850-pound rolls of newsprint will cost an additional $4,000 to $5,000 per shipment with these costly tariffs.”

After the meeting with SDNA members, Rounds signed on to co-sponsor S. 2835, the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade (PRINT) Act of 2018. This legislation, introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine), would suspend the import taxes on uncoated groundwood paper while the Department of Commerce examines the effects of tariffs on the publishing and printing industry.
“A final decision on making them permanent could come in September, and we hope to have a resolution before then,” Rounds said.

STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE

A permanent newsprint tariff would force changes in the newspapers that many people have come to expect, Bordewyk said.

“A lot of South Dakota’s smallest weekly newspapers are the most vulnerable. There is only so much they can do to absorb the costs or pass it along,” he said.

“For those newspapers who are able to keep their doors open, you’ll see less content. They will have to reduce the size of those papers and print fewer pages each week in order to hold down expenses.

The current problem for South Dakota newspapers, and those across the nation, is reflecting the overall economic woes in rural areas, Bordewyk said.

“Advertising is down in newspapers, both dailies and weeklies alike. For a long time, newspapers in South Dakota and the rest of the Midwest seemed insulated from whatever was going on in the global market,” he said.

“But the advertising has gone down and has also started moving into social media such as Facebook. We need to face what is happening now.”

CHANGES AHEAD?

The SDNA board has discussed the economic challenges, along with the tariffs, threatening the existence of many member newspapers, Bordewyk said.

“We just had a board meeting with the discussion on whether papers will need to go online,” he said. “There are still consumers today, particularly in the Midwest, who want a printed newspaper. They want that hard-copy version. It’s the preferred method for readers and advertisers in those communities. You can’t simply force a community newspaper to go online.”

The printed newspaper provides a written form of sharing news, Bordewyk said. The written word and photos keep communities informed and connected while providing a permanent record, he said.
In addition, the move to online newspapers would clash with an argument that surfaces in the Legislature nearly every year — bills allowing public government bodies to put their own records and proceedings online rather than in local newspapers.

Relying strictly on online public records would be dangerous, Bordewyk said. He pointed to the lack of a permanent record, with government bodies able to take down or alter minutes and other legal proceedings.
In addition, online records could be hacked, altered or deleted by outside sources, he argued.
“It’s been demonstrated time and again, where we see the importance of written records that are kept permanent,” he said.

Bordewyk sees the ITC decision as crucial and literally a make-or-break for many community newspapers.
“There’s no way to sugar coat it. This is crunch time for newspapers,” he said. “This issue of tariffs makes it very challenging for newspapers to survive.”

The impact of the newsprint tariff greatly impacts state’s, Bordewyk said.

“On the flip side, the good news is that South Dakotans still value newspapers and rely on the printed word to keep their communities engaged and informed,” he said.

“South Dakotans still want to know what is going on in their communities and across the region. Hopefully, that path forward is there and we can keep newspapers going forward.”

Despite the challenges facing the profession, Bordewyk sees journalism playing a crucial role now more than ever for democracy.

“Whether it’s newspapers as we know it or some other format, journalism will continue to play an important role,” he said.

View the full article here

PRI’s The World: Canadian Newsprint Tariffs

(July 26, 2018)

OUR OPINION: Newsprint tariff threat continues to loom in 11th hour

Tupelo, Mississippi


(July 26, 2018)

Our two greatest expenses at Journal Inc. are payroll and newsprint – the latter having come under great focus in the public eye since March of this year.

Since that time, a tariff of up to 30 percent on Canadian uncoated paper has raised the price of newsprint, creating the epitome of a tax on journalism at home and abroad.

The Trump administration ordered the tariffs in response to a complaint from a paper producer in Washington state, which argued that Canadian competitors take advantage of government subsidies to sell their product at unfairly low prices.

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, made a final public appeal, warning that thousands of American jobs are at risk in the newspaper and publishing industry. Last week, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, and 18 other members of congress testified against the tariffs before the U.S. International Trade Commission.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will consider the broader impact on the economy when his department decides next week whether to make the tariff permanent on uncoated groundwood paper.

If the tariff is not made permanent by the Commerce Department, it will expire.

That expiration is imperative to the nature of “the good newspaper,” as former Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal publisher George McLean called it.

In a vision that he printed on the editorial page each Jan. 1, McLean shared what made any community newspaper the catalyst for its own success.

“The good newspaper is its community’s encourager which by making known what groups and individuals are doing brings mutual support for each other’s projects and invites still greater personal initiative. It is a community’s semi-official provider of pats on the back through news stories, pictures or editorials.
“The good newspaper can contribute perhaps more than any other institution to development of an active, mutually serving citizenship.

“The good newspaper should be a friend of its community, limiting criticism to needs for improvements rather than condemning shortcomings.

“The good newspaper will not merely report but will enlighten, recognizing that the typical citizen may be limited in his understanding of government, economics, human relations, etc., but frequently is eager for broader understanding when the information is presented in an interesting, credible manner.

“The good newspaper serves as an educational institution, takes up where a college degree or institutional walls may stop, teaches life as it actually is being lived without effort to conceal human potential and human progress, emphasizes the good more than the bad.”

To expound upon McLean’s proclamation for what the good newspaper is – the good newspaper is a beacon; a lighthouse to guide or warn – to seek and enable.

The good newspaper is a champion for all.

The newsprint tariff is the antagonist of the good newspaper; it seeks to damage and to stigmatize.
If you are a supporter of the good newspaper, it’s important to be part of the narrative and not a casualty of assumption.

We encourage you to continue to contact our representatives and members of Congress to remind them that a tax on the free press is a slight on patriotism.

View the full article here