What Others Are Saying

We believe it is important to keep jobs in America, but not at the expense of rocking a longstanding industry and the people in this country who depend on it. From our own recent experience, we found a textbook case of where a free market is the right market for the local newspapers, the communities they serve and the hundreds of millions of people who depend on the local information they produce.

One of the many benefits of a free market is that people and businesses are free to purchase the products that best fit their needs for a more affordable price.

They are also free to find alternatives when certain necessary products are scarce or declining in quality. These are cornerstones for much of the American economy and business models and for centuries the freedom to choose providers for the products we use have kept people employed as business owners adapt to an ever changing landscape.

That freedom to choose suppliers for things like newsprint is one way newspapers around the country have been able to stay in business when readership habits and expectations change. Today, however, the market for newsprint is anything but free. Tariffs currently imposed on Canadian paper producers that make buying from them drastically more expensive have forced some newspapers to narrow their search for product to the five American producers of newsprint, the uncoated groundwood paper you are holding right now. American prices are just as high, and continue to climb. Another price increase is set for June.

On its face, this may seem like a boon for American jobs and businesses. For the American mills producing the paper, it may be. But a layer deeper, the consequences for many more jobs, many more businesses and many more people are much more dire. The Tampa Bay Times, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Denver Post, just to name a few, are among the big names to already layoff a significant number of employees due, at least in part, to rising paper prices.

As more newspapers are forced to pay for the artificially expensive tariffed paper or choose from a smaller number of domestic paper producers, those producers have a more difficult time keeping up with demand. The cost of both the tarrifs and of keeping up with the demand is passed onto the consumers, in this case newspaper and other commercial printing operations. Prices since January have already spiked more than 30 percent in some cases, and finding a supplier with enough paper to order is becoming more difficult by the week.

When you consider there are more than 600,000 people in the U.S. employed by newspapers and the commercial printing sector of the economy, the impacts of the current tariffs could devastate an industry.

We question the logic of imposing tariffs to protect a couple thousand jobs at the expense of potentially more than half a million. When newspapers contract, it means a loss of coverage of everything from local crime to local government. When that happens, communities suffer.

Newspapers and commercial printers should be free to buy paper from the suppliers that best suit their needs.

We applaud the efforts of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and the 13 other senators who signed on to stop the tariffs through the Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade, or PRINT, Act of 2018.

America has long been a land of freedom. We have freedom to speak our minds and the freedom to report on our communities without interference from our government. We would hate to see those threatened by interference in the freedom to operate our businesses as we want to and need to.