US newspapers fight to survive paper tariff

World Today


Under verbal assault from the president and now financial assault from tariffs. Newspapers in the United States are already struggling with declining readership and are now fighting to stay in print, and this latest financial challenge could be the final nail in the coffin for many.

CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.

The latest copy of Chicago newspaper, The Daily Herald, whirs into production. However, the newspaper industry in the United States is under threat after the U.S. Commerce Department announced it will proceed with tariffs on imported paper from Canada. The extra costs are a further blow to an already vulnerable newspaper industry.

“We are already dealing with technology revolution in our business. Newspapers are struggling. Advertising is declining, going to different places, certainly to the internet,” said Scott Stone, the president and CEO of the Daily Herald. “Readership is down, people are reading more on the internet, reading different things. To have this on top, it just seems like the government is giving us another push.”

At its peak, the facility can print 60,000 newspapers an hour, but there is a real fear that if the tariffs remain, many printing presses across the country will grind to a halt.

Behind the tariff decision is a U.S. paper manufacturer in Washington state that accused Canadian companies of unfairly benefiting from government subsidies.

In Mayville, Wisconsin, Andrew Johnson, owner of the Dodge County Pionier and President of the National Newspaper Association, is preparing his next newspaper and he cannot understand the reasoning behind the tariff decision. “The weekly newspapers alone have let go almost 10,000 people because of this,” Johnson said. “If the tariff continues it is our professional estimation that half the newspapers in America will close.”

It’s may not be just jobs that are at stake as those at the Pionier and the Daily Herald believe the impact on U.S. communities will be far-reaching.

“What happens if there is not a newspaper in these communities to cover the local news. Some of these communities would be unchecked. There would be no watchdog,” Stone said. “And then what would happen It would be devastating.”

But there’s still a chance the tariffs might be overturned and the International Trade Commission is set to make a final decision next month.