Sunday, June 16, 2019


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So Much for the Money Saved

             Since March, a tariff of up to 30% on Canadian uncoated paper has raised the price of newsprint.  The Town and Country newspaper has seen the cost of publishing the local newspaper increase – the direct result of the tariff.

            The Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association recently released figures representing how newspapers throughout the Commonwealth are handling the added costs and how it affects their ability to continue to provide news and information to the local community.

            The results were mindboggling: 84% have reduced page count; 44% have not filled open positions; 34% have shopped for alternative paper sources; and 22% have imposed staff reductions.

            Future options to address the rising cost included 31% may change publication size/format or implement a width reduction; 13% may become a digital-only publication; and some may shut down completely.

            The state's newspapers reported an overall increase of 23.4% cost due to the tariffs.

            The newspapers also reported other concerns that came with the tariff.

            They include: That the First Amendment should extend to the ancillary things that make the Amendment functional. Imposing tariffs on vehicles that exercise the Amendment should be just as unconstitutional; Newspaper staff size and employee benefits may be reduced; and, they may need to implement price increases for subscribers and advertisers, along with surcharges to other newspapers and publications that they print, to offset additional newsprint costs.;

            The increased cost has the potential to significantly reduce the depth of reporting and reach and provide less content in the printed paper.  Many newspapers have had to make difficult decisions on what remains in the paper. The trickle-down effect to the most important piece of the newspaper business, the consumer, is beginning.

            Many newspapers are close to running out of newsprint and are scrambling to borrow from others. This has created a much bigger shortage than anticipated.

            The subsidized Canadian newsprint price has driven out U.S.-based manufacturers. We have no leverage with Canada. Newspaper jobs were and will continue to be lost. Newsprint tariffs are punitive to American newspapers - not only are the tariffs putting publications in jeopardy, they are endangering the livelihood of many employees - employees who have families to support.  Should one company have the power to destroy the lives of so many? Especially a company that lacks the capacity to fulfill our newsprint needs?

            Book publishers are able to make money using an enormous supply of expensive paper. Why can't lawmakers help newspapers do the same on newsprint? What can they do in a hurry to promote the American production of newsprint so we can continue, especially in the local market, to provide local news, editorials and information?

            In an already struggling industry, tariffs add another threat to survival.

            The Town and Country is going through all of the pains experienced by newspapers throughout the State. Yes, it could mean a price increase in the near future.

            So much for the money saved as a result of the recent Tax Reform.





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