by Sam Hieb
Big New York Times article on the effect President Trump’s tariffs on Canadian newsprint has had on local newspapers. Headline–it’s not good:
Surging newsprint costs are beginning to hurt publications like The Gazette in Janesville, Wis., the hometown paper of the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, which has long felt a mandate to punch above its weight. The paper, with a newsroom staff of 22, was the first to publish the news in 2016 that Mr. Ryan would support the presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump. And while its editorial board has endorsed Mr. Ryan countless times, the paper made national news when it chided him for refusing to hold town halls with his constituents.
Now, with newsprint tariffs increasing annual printing costs by $740,000, The Gazette has made several cuts to its staff and is using narrower paper, reducing the number of stories published every day.
“We’re all paying a huge price,” Skip Bliss, the publisher of The Gazette, said of the tariffs’ effect on the industry. “I fear it’s going to be a very difficult time. I think there’s probably going to be some casualties.”
Here in North Carolina, the Salisbury Post recently announced it was scaling back its print publication schedule to Sundays and Tuesdat through Fridays as a result of increased newsprint costs:
I have no opinion about whether tariffs are good or bad, or whether, in the end, tariffs will be just what the doctor ordered. I sure do hope so. I do know how tariffs are affecting our ability to maintain and grow your newspaper. And we have to do something about it, quickly.
….We will continue to play an important role in civic engagement, telling the stories of people around us every single day whether in print or online. We will continue investigative coverage, and report on crime and courts. We will tell you how our leaders are spending your tax dollars. You will still find information about sports, business, religion, the arts, entertainment and more.
As one who still goes out to his sidewalk every morning to get the print of edition of my local paper, I am slightly disturbed to hear this news. Yet I am not heartbroken—society evolves and businesses must evolve with it.