Archive for Press Coverage – Page 2

US Lawmakers, Printers and Publishers Testify Against Crippling Import Tariffs on Canadian Newsprint

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


By Mark Michelson, Editor-in-Chief, Printing Impressions
(July 20, 2018)

With all of the talking heads on television news stations pontificating about the prospects for an international trade war initially fueled by tariffs that have been implemented by the Trump administration — including imported steel and aluminum — the import tariffs that are currently being imposed on Canadian uncoated groundwood papers (newsprint) aren’t capturing any attention within the electronic media.

Even so, July 17 was a pivotal day for the printing and publishing industry as more than a dozen Congressional lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, publishers, printers, newspaper advocacy groups and newsprint paper producers testified in Washington before the International Trade Commission (ITC) to express their strong opposition to the preliminary paper tariffs.

“The tariffs will hurt the U.S. paper industry because they will cause permanent harm to newspapers, printers and book publishers, shrinking the U.S. paper industry’s customer base,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) during her testimony before the ITC. “In fact, the tariffs will likely lead to less production of newsprint by U.S. manufacturers as customers cut their consumption once and for all. This is simply not the way Congress intended the trade laws to work.”

The ITC is reportedly slated to vote on Aug. 28 whether or not to make the import tariffs permanent. And the U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to render its decision on the matter by Aug. 2. Current tariffs on imported Canadian newsprint, which largely impact U.S. newspaper, book, directory and circular printers and publishers, will become permanent if both organizations vote in favor to keep them in place.

In January, the Department of Commerce assessed preliminary countervailing duties on uncoated groundwood ranging from 4.4% to 9.9%, depending on the Canadian paper manufacturer. Then, it later added preliminary antidumping duties, on top of the countervailing tariffs, of up to 22.16%, resulting in total tariffs of up to 32% now being imposed.

The preliminary countervailing and antidumping duties by the Department of Commerce emanate from a complaint filed by North Pacific Paper Corp. (NORPAC), a single-location paper manufacturer located in Longview, Wash., which is owned by a New York-based hedge fund. NORPAC is reportedly one of five newsprint paper mills still remaining in the U.S., but it was the only one to file an antidumping complaint.

Bills Introduced in Both Congressional Houses
In response to the impact of the current paper tariffs, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate, led by Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine), introduced a bill in May that would delay dumping tariffs and countervailing duties currently being applied. The PRINT (Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade) Act would suspend the import taxes on Canadian uncoated groundwood paper and would require the Department of Commerce to complete a study on the consequences the tariffs will have on U.S. newspapers and the more than 600,000-employee-strong printing and publishing industry in general.

The bill would also suspend any action by the Commerce Department and the ITC on newsprint import duties until President Trump would receive the report and certify that the taxes are in the economic interests of the United States.

The bipartisan PRINT Act is co-sponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.). A very similar bill, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), has more than 20 co-sponsors.

View the full article here

OUR OPINION: Tariffs on newsprint cause far-reaching harm

Tupelo, Mississippi

(July 20, 2018)

It’s no secret that the news industry faces its share of challenges today.

One of the latest hurdles is one that’s avoidable.

This spring, the Trump administration ordered tariffs on Canadian newsprint. That action came in response to a complaint filed by a New York hedge fund that owns a paper mill in Washington state. It is separate from other, more high-profile tariffs announced recently.

And while it may appease some shareholders, the newsprint tariff has had far-reaching negative consequences.

The fact is, many U.S.-based paper mills are Canadian-owned entities, including a mill right here in Grenada.

Resolute Forest Products in Grenada employs more than 160 workers and supports an additional 500 jobs in the community, representing an economic impact of about $100 million.

While those mills are hit by the tariffs, the mill in Washington simply can’t make enough newsprint to meet the nation’s demand.

So the price of newsprint has risen dramatically, creating significant headwinds for papers across the country, especially middle-sized and smaller newspapers serving local communities.

These are not the national behemoths or talking-heads on television that have become national lighting rods. These are the community institutions working hard to inform citizens, tell your stories, serve as watchdogs and build communities. These are the publications reporting on your schools, churches and government and keeping you informed on the things that impact your daily life.

The Mississippi Press Association, and the 110 newspapers it represents, opposes the tariffs. Many of those publications are now scrambling to find ways to absorb a large, un-budgeted expense – reducing news coverage, laying off workers and taking other measures. Both the Vicksburg Post and the Natchez Democrat have cut production to five days per week, instead of seven.

An effort is underway to reverse the tariffs. On Tuesday, Senator Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, and 18 other members if congress testified against the tariffs before the U.S. International Trade Commission. It was a broad bipartisan coalition of federal lawmakers from across the country. No lawmaker testified in favor of the tariffs.

“My greatest concern is how these tariffs will harm a major newsprint producer in my state, as well as the many small and rural newspapers who operate with small budgets and tight margins,” said Wicker, who also co-sponsored legislation that would suspend the import taxes on newsprint.

The idea that an investment group representing a single company in a single state is able to cripple an industry across the nation is absurd. The newsprint tariff is harmful to tens of thousands of American jobs, not to mention the free press – a fundamental characteristic of American Democracy.

We appreciate the efforts of Wicker and his fellow members if congress in taking a stand against the tariffs.

It is time for the administration to take action and reverse them.

View the full article here

Opinion: When trade skirmishes hit home

Atlanta, Georgia

By Kevin Riley
(July 20, 2018)

On Friday’s front page of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reporters Tamar Hallerman, our Washington correspondent, and Michael Kanell, a business reporter based here, wrote about Ironmonger Brewing Co., a Marietta-based company.

Co-owner David Sheets worries about a trade war. Why? Tariffs on aluminum and steel might drive up the cost of the cans the company uses.

“If we get a tariff that drives the 11-cent can up to 15 cents a can, that’s trouble,” Sheets said. “I am not going to be able to raise my prices to cover for that. I will have to absorb the cost.”

“The margins we have now are about 8 or 9 percent, and with these tariffs, you want to take that to 2 or 3 percent,” Sheets said. “How do I save enough money to hire more people? How do I have enough to give my people raises?”

This kind of story represents some of the most important work that we do. Amid all of the commotion, over-the-top rhetoric and political divisions, our job is to get to the real story. To let you know how policies coming out of Washington are playing out in the real lives of Georgians.

We want to give you the clearest possible picture of how international trade fights could affect the economy and jobs close to home.

That way, you can make up your own mind about where you stand.

In the trade policy debate, one issue is hitting very close to home for us.

Let me explain.

As you probably know, President Donald Trump has been vocal about trade policy, calling for changes in the deals and treaties the United States has with countries around the world. His view is that too many existing trade deals are bad for the United States and cost our country jobs.

Of course, when the issue is framed that way, it’s tough to disagree with the President’s view. After all, it’s no secret that American aluminum and steel manufacturers have struggled against foreign competition. Shouldn’t they have an advantage in supplying the cans to a small, Georgia-based brewing company?

Not to worry, I’m not going to launch into a long, boring explanation of international economics and trade. Let’s just agree that it’s not simple.

Many Georgia businesses benefit from open trade with other countries. Other businesses suffer.

Which brings us to tariffs that affect newsprint — the paper that we use to make the newspaper you’re holding.

Back in January, the Commerce Department announced that it would hit Canadian newsprint manufacturers with a tariff.

“President Trump made it clear from the beginning that we will vigorously administer our trade laws to provide U.S. industry with relief from unfair trade practices,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross would later say. “(The) decision follows an open and transparent investigation in accordance with the applicable laws, regulations, and administrative practices that ensured a full and fair review of the facts.”

Again, it would be easy to get folks sitting around a dinner table to agree with Ross’s statement.

But there’s more to it.

First, the Commerce Department apparently made this decision, affecting the cost of paper for thousands of newspapers, based on the complaint of one company, North Pacific Paper Co., which is based in Washington state and owns just one paper mill. Oh, and the company is owned by a New York-based hedge fund, according to the News Media Alliance that represents the newspaper industry.

“This is an example of one private investment fund trying to use the government to boost its bottom line — at the expense of an entire industry,” said David Chavern, president and chief executive officer of the News Media Alliance. “Anyone who believes in limited government should find this offensive.”

The News Media Alliance also points out:
•Other U.S. newsprint mills haven’t supported the tariffs because of how hard they will hit newspapers — including cutbacks to pages in newspapers that would drive down the demand for paper.
•With less print advertising, newspapers use less paper, so the market has been hit by a decline caused by business forces, not trade policy.

This increased cost of paper has increased our costs at the AJC, and as a business we have to consider how to respond. That will affect readers and advertisers — all because of one paper mill out West.

Congress is considering action, and the move is bipartisan. So even politicians — who we can be hard on — see that this is a bad policy.

I met with Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson last week, and he immediately raised the issue. He was among 19 members of Congress who testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission the day before we met.

“Of all the news media there are, there’s none that delivers a more quality insight into the issue of the day than local newspapers,” Isakson said.

He called the tariffs “a tremendous threat to the First Amendment, my ability to express myself and my ability as a businessman to sell a product.”

“I’m afraid these market increases would affect the markets in a negative way, the information I’m able to read in a negative way, and the dissemination of [information for] the public good in a negative way. None of which are good for the American people or American business.”

Isakson is among a group of senators who have introduced legislation that would suspend the tariffs.

One group representing the printing and publishing industry said these tariffs affect 600,000 jobs in the United States.

We know the tariffs affect us, and our ability to provide your newspaper. We appreciate your support as a subscriber and reader. And I hope you’ll support us in this fight against tariffs on newsprint.

View the full article here

19 Members of Congress Testified in Front of the ITC to Urge Reversal of Newsprint Tariffs

Bolstered by the in-person appearance of 19 Members of Congress, America’s newspaper publishers, printers, retailers and small business made a compelling and substantive case for removing tariffs on newsprint produced in Canada during a hearing on July 17 before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).

The message to the ITC was loud and clear: Import duties the U.S. Commerce Department slapped on newsprint to protect a single company are putting at risk the jobs of over 600,000 American workers in the paper, newspaper, retail, printing and publishing industries. A hike in the price of newsprint could push demand for the product way down and if newspaper and book publishers and advertisers buy less paper, then printers, equipment makers, and suppliers would also suffer.

Beyond this tangible economic impact, the tariffs threaten the existence of scores of local newspapers millions of Americans depend on for news and information relevant to their daily lives. Lawmakers warned the ITC this would weaken the viability and meaning of the First Amendment freedoms, create news deserts and undermine the sense of community in the towns and rural areas they represent. If local and regional newspapers close, scale back on coverage, or exist only online, the concept of a democracy of informed citizens will be forever weakened.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed tariffs, as high as 30 percent, on newsprint imported from Canada in response to claims by North Pacific Paper Company that Canada is distorting free and fair trade with a host of subsidies provided to paper mills north of the border. NORPAC’s claims are belied by the fact that the rest of the U.S. paper industry opposes the tariffs.  The paper industry in North America has long been characterized by logistical considerations that make robust cross-border investment and integration the norm. NORPAC, which is owned by a New York private equity firm, with no additional pulp or paper operations in the United States or globally, stands alone in its support for the tariffs.

More than 11,000 Americans, from all 50 states, have already registered their opposition to the newsprint tariffs in a petition delivered to the ITC.

The STOPP coalition has assembled extensive evidence that the tariffs are already harming the U.S. printing and publishing industries. If the tariffs continue, the harm will extend to newspapers, commercial printing, and book publishing operations, and cause a ripple effect throughout the supply chain, affecting paper manufacturers, ink suppliers, fuel producers, equipment manufacturers and others.

More than 90 members of the U.S. House and Senate have written letters objecting to these tariffs and more than a quarter of senators have co-sponsored legislation requesting the U.S. Department of Commerce to pause the tariffs for an impact study. In addition, letters of objection were also sent from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Communications Workers of America.

Testified in person on July 17:

U.S. Sen Bob Casey (D-PA)

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL)

U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-ME)

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)

U.S. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY)

U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley (R-WV)

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI)

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC)

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)

U.S. Rep. David Trott (R-MI)

Filed letters or testimony with the ITC on July 17:

Letter from members of the Michigan delegation

Virginia delegation letter

South Dakota delegation letter

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) letter

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) letter

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) letter

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) testimony

U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) letter



Poliquin, King, Collins: “Roll back newsprint tariffs”

Ellsworth, Maine

(July 18, 2018)

By Kate Cough ELLSWORTH — U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) were among lawmakers who testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) on Tuesday in opposition to tariffs imposed by the Commerce Department that have caused the price of newsprint to rise over 20 percent in recent months.

“The tariffs will hurt the U.S. paper industry because they will cause permanent harm to newspapers, printers and book publishers, shrinking the U.S. paper industry’s customer base,” Collins told the ITC, a federal agency that advises the government on trade policy.

The duties, which were imposed on Canadian newsprint at the beginning of the year, will eventually lead to “less production of newsprint by U.S. manufacturers as customers cut their consumption once and for all,” said Collins, and “are harming the very U.S. industry they are intended to protect.”

Collins said communities without access to broadband internet still rely on printed newspapers.

“For many of our small town and rural newspapers, these tariffs, if finalized, would harm the dissemination of information about our communities, our government, and the world around us,” Collins said.

King said he understood the conflict between obeying tariff laws and protecting free speech and freedom of the press, but that applying the law in this case “makes no sense both because it would hurt the industry it’s designed to help, and it would be an arrow in the heart of the First Amendment because it would reduce the information that’s available to Americans.”

Poliquin focused on Maine’s struggling paper mills, such as Catalyst Paper in Rumford.

“It is true that in some cases tariffs can help U.S. producers by raising prices,” Poliquin (Continued on Page 12)

Roll back newsprint tariffs

said. “In this unique case, however, a price increase will only exacerbate and quicken the already declining customer base for paper products in the United States.”

The Commerce Department is expected to announce the results of an investigation into Canada’s alleged dumping of newsprint by Aug. 2 and to decide on whether to keep the tariffs shortly thereafter.

The department’s decision to impose the tariffs was triggered by a petition filed last August by a single paper mill in southwestern Washington. The mill, North Pacific Paper Co., claimed that government subsidized Canadian newsprint producers were dumping paper below production costs in the United States.

The cost of newsprint skyrocketed, around 26.5 percent for The Ellsworth American, according to Publisher AlanBaker. The American buys its paper through a nonprofit cooperative that represents several hundred newspapers. The cost increase has also been passed on to smaller papers, such as The Bucksport Enterprise and Penobscot Bay Press newspapers printed on The American’s presses.

Some of the newspaper industry’s largest trade groups have opposed the tariffs, and have criticized North Pacific Paper Co. in particular.

In May, Collins and King announced the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act of 2018 (PRINT Act). The legislation proposes suspending the tariffs and requires the secretary of commerce to study the economic vitality of the newsprint and newspaper publishing industries.

The PRINT Act is still in the first stages of the legislative process, having been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

The fate of the newsprint industry is closely tied with that of mills across the country, including in Maine, where mill closures have resulted in the loss of hundreds of jobs around the state in recent years.The American once purchased all of its newsprint from Great Northern in Millinocket, said Baker, but the mills eventually were closed, leaving no newsprint manufacturers in the Northeast corner of the country.

“So far, we’re trying to absorb it,” said Baker, when asked whether the papers would be forced to eventually raise the price of a subscription. “We’re being careful about everything.”

Newsprint is the third largest expense of the paper, behind salaries and circulation costs, said Baker, adding, “We’re just toughing it out.”

Papers, chafing under weight of newsprint tariffs, seek relief

Washington, District of Columbia

By Mark Pattison

(July 12th, 2018)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Newspapers of every type, Catholic papers included, are seeking relief from the U.S. government after six months of increased costs due to tariffs on imported Canadian newsprint.

The Catholic Press Association, which includes English-speaking Canada, is a member of the STOPP Coalition, which has pressed the Commerce Department for relief. STOPP is an acronym for Stop Tariffs on Printers and Publishers.

Price increases due to the tariffs have socked the Pittsburgh Catholic three times already this year, according to Carmella Weismantle, advertising director and business manager. “And we’ve been told more are coming,” she said.

The newsprint tariff is different from the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on goods produced elsewhere, most notably China. In the newsprint situation, a U.S. company, NORPAC, which owns a mill in Washington state, had complained that Canada was unfairly subsidizing its newsprint production. The U.S. Department of Commerce agreed, and tariffs were first slapped onto newsprint imports in January.

Tim Walter, CPA executive director, said the CPA board had agreed to join STOPP after CPA president Joe Towalski, editor of The Visitor, newspaper of the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota, had recommended it. Walter added that Towalski noted the CPA had joined the alliance during this year’s Catholic Media Convention in June, although no questions were raised about the issue afterward.

“There was no financial commitment involved” in joining STOPP, Walter told Catholic News Service in a July 12 telephone interview. “They didn’t ask us to participate in meetings at this point in time. They just asked us to join the alliance.”

Other members of STOPP include a number of regional press organizations as well as national groups like the News Media Alliance, the American Society of News Editors, the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the Association of American Publishers. Printers, paper makers and even the National Grocers Association, whose members’ ads appear in newspapers nationwide, are in the coalition.

Walter noted that the CPA’s monthly newspaper, The Catholic Journalist, has been affected by the tariff. “It’s traditional we would have a printer do our work pro bono, but because of the increase in print costs and newsprint costs, they’re asking us to pay the costs of newsprint for the first time in many years,” he said.

“We were warned” about future increases, Weismantle said. “We knew that this was coming down the pike. And our printer told us, ‘We have no alternative but to pass it on to our customers.’ I mean, what are they supposed to do?”

Mark Cohen, president of the Pennsylvania News Media Association, was part of a group lobbying six Pennsylvania members of Congress in June. “They made it sound like they’d heard of it, but they didn’t realize the calamity it would cause newspapers,” Cohen told CNS July 11.

“We said, ‘Look, you believe in jobs, obviously. … You believe in First Amendment rights. You believe in real news vs. fake news. You want good local reporters on the street. If you do, you need to be on our side. You can’t have it both ways. … You have to be with us.'”

Cohen said, “I think we have momentum. We were way behind the starting line on this and we were all caught off guard. Now that we’re mobilized, we’re getting the message out. We’re getting attention. Of course, we can’t predict how this goes.”

One potential remedy is a hearing before the International Trade Commission to lift the tariff, which is supposed to last for five years with annual review. The commission conducted a hearing July 7 on the tariff and is slated to vote on it Aug. 28, although its rationale, yea or nay, wouldn’t be known until September, according to Paul Boyle, senior vice president of public policy for the news Media Alliance.

“Many newspapers have taken steps to cut the number of pages that they produce. Some have laid off workers, which is not a good situation,” Boyle said. Cohen added some newspapers have reduced the number of days they print; the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will now publish in print just five days a week.

Another remedy being pushed is the PRINT Act, introduced by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine. It has 24 Senate co-sponsors and 28 House co-sponsors. PRINT is an acronym for Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade. The bill would suspend the tariff on Canadian newsprint and require the Commerce Department to review the economic health of the printing and publishing industries.

View the full article here


WASHINGTON – More than 11,000 Americans are petitioning the U.S. government to reverse massive tariffs that the government recently imposed on newsprint, a coalition of printers, publishers, paper suppliers and distributors announced today.

The petition is sponsored by the STOPP Coalition (Stop Tariffs On Printers and Publishers) a group of printers, publishers, paper suppliers and distributors that represent mostly small businesses in local communities. The new tariffs, as high as 30 percent, have dramatically increased the cost of newsprint in the United States, causes shortages, and forced many newspapers to reduce pages, decrease publishing frequency, or cut jobs. Many newspapers have expressed concern that increased long-term costs will put them out of business.

The STOPP Coalition has collected 11,261 signatures in opposition to the newsprint tariffs from all 50 states – as of July 12, 2018 at 11 a.m. ET. The five top states include: Kentucky with 1,287; Florida with 1,110; North Carolina with 613, Pennsylvania with 509 and New York with 494 signatures. The full petition text is available here.

Late last year, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed tariffs on newsprint in response to claims by North Pacific Paper Company, a single paper mill operating in the pacific northwest.  North Pacific is an outlier – the rest of the U.S. paper industry opposes the tariffs because the tariffs are causing deep and lasting harm to the industry’s primary customers. North Pacific is owned by a New York private equity firm, with no additional pulp or paper operations in the United States or globally.

The STOPP coalition has assembled extensive evidence that the tariffs are already harming the U.S. printing and publishing industries. If the tariffs continue, the harm will extend to newspapers, commercial printing, and book publishing operations, and throughout the supply chain, such as paper manufacturers, ink suppliers, fuel producers, and equipment manufacturers.

Congressional delegations from Florida, Missouri, Illinois and New Mexico have written letters to the U.S. Government to object to the trade case. In addition, letters signed by over 50 elected officials, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Congressional members such as: Susan Collins, Angus King, Johnny Isakson, Ralph Norman, Liz Cheney, Kristi Noem, Brian Higgins among many others have also been sent. All letters available here.


Madison Press newspaper in London to drop print edition, publish online only

Columbus, Ohio

By Tim Feran

(July 11, 2018)

The Madison Press will stop publishing a printed newspaper and go to a digital format only beginning next week.

The London-based newspaper announced Wednesday that it will become a weekly, paid digital publication. For the remainder of July, it will be available for viewing free of charge. After that, viewing the Madison Press will require a paid subscription.

“While you will no longer receive a physical printed newspaper, we remain committed to London and surrounding Madison County,” said Lane Moon, publisher and regional vice president of the newspaper’s owner, AIM Media Midwest, in the announcement.

This new digital newspaper will be published once a week. It typically will run eight to 12 pages and will be available for viewing in digital format each Friday, Moon said.

The newspaper will provide additional coverage of London and surrounding communities in Madison County on its website: In addition to the new digital version of The Madison Press, the company will continue to print the Madison Press Community Guide, he said.

The Madison Press is making the change from printed publishing to strictly digital because of “a variety of factors impacting the newspaper industry,” including the increases in the price of newsprint due to tariffs that began earlier this year, Moon said.

In addition, the newspaper’s landlord in London has decided to seek other renters for the property, located at 55 W. High St.

“While it’s true we will be closing the physical office in London, we won’t be leaving the community as some of you may have heard recently,” Moon said. “We remain deeply committed to continuing to provide you the very best in local coverage and continuing to serve the community.”

The Madison Press has been in operation since 1842, according to its website. AIM Media Midwest bought the newspaper in 2017. In April, the company ceased publishing its Tuesday, Thursday and Friday editions and began delivering the publication on two days only: Wednesdays and Saturdays.

At that time, Moon said that in a market the size of London and Madison County, “it has become increasingly challenging to publish five days a week and remain a viable business.”

Information about staffing of the publication and its future address were not immediately available.

View the full article here

Newsprint tariff will hurt every type of reader (Editorial)

Springfield, Massachusetts

By The Republican Editorials
(July 3, 2018)

A tariff on Canadian newsprint will hurt liberal readers, conservative readers, sports fans, the shopper who wants to check out the ads and the kid who wants to read the comics.

Under the complicated laws dealing with trade, one complaint by one paper mill in the state of Washington, the North Pacific Paper Co., employing only 300 people, supported by no other paper producers, has managed to endanger the financial underpinnings of 600,000 jobs in the newspaper, book publishing and related industries.

The tariff of more than 30 percent, imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, is not about politics. It’s not a comeuppance for a print industry that some feel has been biased against their opinions. It carries the potential to hurt everybody in a country that needs a free and fair press – but first and foremost, needs a healthy and viable press.

Any skeptics should consider the sponsors of a House bill that would remove the tariff. It is co-sponsored by Republican Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Democrat Charlie Crist of Florida, but the other 10 sponsors are all Republicans willing to challenge the tariff.

Noem’s statement, written from her office in a very red Midwestern state, warns the tariff could spell the end for countless local and hometown newspapers. Her bill asks for the tariff to be put on hold until a Commerce Department study on potential negative impact is completed.

In our politically polarized climate, with media objectivity under scrutiny as never before, any claim by media that its business model is suffering is likely to be met by support from some sides but snickering by others. That obfuscates what should be an obvious fact: this is not about political ideologies.

Newspapers of both conservative and liberal leanings (and those seeking an objective balance) must all pay the higher cost equally. Smaller publications are hit especially hard, though large operations are also deeply affected.

Those hurt most, however, are the customers who want their children’s high school games covered by the local paper. Those affected will be consumers who find comfort in posting a loved one’s obituary in the newspaper for others in the community to see.

Newspapers play important roles that go far beyond covering and analyzing Washington politics. They report state and local news. They give local advertisers affordable options. And yes, they provide horoscopes, classified ads and the funny pages too.

Every single benefit offered by a newspaper is being jeopardized by this tariff, which comes at a time the survival struggle for traditional print is no secret. Before any political faction chortles about it, they should remember that their voices, too, will be muffled if print newspapers cannot remain competitive and solvent.

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Protect jobs at newspapers and paper mills

Everett, Washington

(June 28, 2018)

One wonders if Branigin, an attorney who three years later would become governor of Indiana, ever considered whether he could win those arguments by slapping tariffs on the paper on which newspapers are printed.

The thought apparently has occurred to the Trump administration, which at the request of a single paper mill in southwest Washington, has imposed two rounds of tariffs since the start of the year — now amounting up to 32 percent — on newsprint exported from Canadian mills to newspapers in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed the tariffs following a complaint by NorPac, the North Pacific Paper Co. in Longview, that Canadian paper mills, subsidized by their government, were offering lower prices that undercut U.S. mills. The Longview mill is one of only five U.S. mills that produces “uncoated groundwood paper,” providing 800,000 tons of newsprint annually, nearly half of the supply for the nation’s newspapers.

That’s good news for many in Longview, the Chicago Tribune reported this week. The mill now employs 400 full- and part-time workers, has restarted idled machinery and may bring back another 50 employees.

But it’s been bad news for newspapers across the country, particularly those in smaller and rural communities. The result of those tariffs has been up to a 30 percent increase in the newsprint costs for newspaper and book publishers and other print media, at a time when newspapers have struggled with a decline in revenue from advertising and subscriptions.

What’s good for mill workers is jeopardizing jobs throughout a U.S. newspaper industry that employs about 180,000 as reporters, photographers, advertisers, office employees, carriers and others. As recently as 2010 the industry employed more than 256,000.

The impact is toughest on smaller community newspapers that can’t easily absorb the added cost, particularly when newsprint is a paper’s second biggest cost after employees. Newspapers also have been hurt by the Trump administration’s tariffs on aluminum imports; newspaper presses use aluminum plates to print each page.

Even in Longview, the newspaper there, The Daily News, is struggling with the tariff’s effects, Publisher David Thornberry told the Tribune. The tariffs have increased the cost of each reader’s newspaper by about five cents, which Thornberry said, may not seem like a lot but is equal to two reporter positions over the course of a year.

Many newspapers are torn, then, between increasing prices or cutting the number of pages, publication days and employees, which risks additional alienation of subscribers and advertisers.

And there’s no guarantee that the good news will continue for paper mill employees. The tariffs were sought by NorPac’s owners, the hedge fund One Rock Capital Partners, based in New York and Los Angeles. No other mill joined One Rock in the request for trade protection. In fact, the American Forest and Paper Association, representing the paper mill industry, is opposed to the tariffs, the Tribune reported, pointing out that it’s a North American market that U.S. and Canadian mills serve.

It’s not hard to envision — unless you’re a hedge fund focused on short-term profit for investors — that as costs increase for newspapers and cuts are made, demand for newsprint will decline, jeopardizing employment at the mills that remain.

There is some hope that the tariffs, at least on newsprint, can be lifted. The U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to make a final ruling on the tariffs by Aug. 2. But the International Trade Commission, a bipartisan federal agency, must concur with the Commerce decision. It meets for a public hearing on July 17.

The Commerce Department and the trade commission should recognize that the jobs of newspaper employees should not be pitted against those of mill workers and that the paper mills depend on a vital newspaper industry.

Bipartisan legislation has been proposed in the Senate and House that seeks a temporary lift of the tariffs while the Commerce Department undertakes a 90-day study of the health of both the newsprint and newspaper industries and presents findings and recommendations to be considered by the president before permanent tariffs could be imposed.

None of Washington state’s congressional delegation have signed on as co-sponsors to the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act — or PRINT Act — though both U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats, told Longview’s Daily News earlier this month that they were reviewing the legislation.

At the same time, however, several state lawmakers from southwest state legislative districts have asked U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, to represent the Longview mill at the ITC’s July meeting. A spokeswoman for Herrera Beutler, The Daily News reported, said she was not certain the congresswoman would attend.

Recognizing that those state lawmakers are facing re-election in an economically challenged region, it would be in the best long-term interests of their constituents and residents of communities throughout the state to rescind their request. At the same time, the members of state’s congressional delegation should add their support to the PRINT Act, which seeks a reasonable consideration of the health and needs of both the newsprint and newspaper industries before tariffs are considered as a remedy.

Newspapers buy ink by the barrel and newsprint by the ton not just to argue but to keep their communities informed and involved.

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