A win for American journalism


Last week's decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission to eliminate newsprint tariffs on Canadian newsprint was a relief to American newspapers. Whatever publishers may think about the future of print journalism, an up to 30 percent increase on the price of newsprint imported from Canada made it even harder to keep putting a paper out.

Moving forward, newspaper companies and families can be proud of their united and emphatic campaign against the tariffs. And we can all be grateful to senators, congressmen and other politicians across the country who testified or spoke out against the move. That doesn't mean they get a break on objective news coverage, but we appreciate their commitment to a free and independent news media in any format.

Here are some excerpts from editorials, news stories and statements on the decision:

The Jackson County Sentinel, Alabama
"Let's remember this moment as an example of what can happen when local communities across the country come together alongside their elected officials and others to help turn back a dangerous, misguided and self-serving request from a single business or an individual seeking an advantage. That, my friends, is dangerous activity and carries the potential to change the face of a nation forever."

(Editor and Publisher Brandon Cox said the editorial was modeled on one written by Leonard Woolsey for the Galveston County Daily News in Texas.)

The Mississippi Press Association
"This is a tremendous victory for newspapers across North America and for the independent press," said Mississippi Press Association President Paul Keane, publisher of The Wayne County News. "If left unchecked, these tariffs posed a real and substantial threat to newspapers all over Mississippi and from coast to coast."

U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Ala.
"This is a huge win for our local newspapers, which are truly the lifeblood of their communities. The vast majority of newsprint used by America's newspapers is manufactured in Canada, not the United States. The Administration's tariffs were going to cost jobs, not save them. Throughout this year, I have heard from publishers across Alabama that the significant cost increase of newsprint caused by these tariffs had placed a heavy burden on their already tight finances, forcing them to cut service or jobs, or both. I applaud the International Trade Commission for reversing these tariffs and letting common sense prevail."

The Decatur Daily, Alabama
"The tariffs had been put in place after the North Pacific Paper Company lodged a complaint against Canadian companies, claiming that Canadian government subsidies hurt profits. The paper mill testified the tariffs helped them re-hire 60 full- and part-time employees, but that number is just a fraction of the newspaper jobs lost because of the tariffs."

U.S. Sen Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
"Today's action will provide welcome relief, help keep people informed about relevant news in their communities and end the threat to hundreds of thousands of jobs in the industry."

Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.
"The decision is a big win for news consumers," said Donna Barrett, president and CEO of CNHI, which operates more than 100 newspapers in 22 states, including the Gloucester Daily Times. "It is a great day for everyone who believes in a free and vigorous press in this country."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
"In New York, we stood with our local newspapers against these tariffs because we believe that the freedom of the press is sacred and that local newspapers play an essential role in our communities. And we will always stand up for the pursuit of truth and justice against those who attack the press and our American values."

Bristol Herald Courier, Bristol, Va.
"We are extremely fortunate that ours and the voices of all newspapers were heard during the ITC hearing which was held last month. Our state press associations, both Virginia and Tennessee, played a pivotal role in providing compelling testimony at the hearings. We are also thankful for the testimony of 19 members of Congress, including U.S. Representative Phil Roe, representing Tennessee's First Congressional District."

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., published prior to the decision
"But Trump's tariff on Canadian newsprint is hurting newspapers large and small across the country, including community publications that record the life of the heartland: its weddings and engagements, its meetings of Rotarians and Kiwanians, its school awards and Eagle Scout ceremonies, its church events and potluck suppers. These are also the journals that pay attention to local city councils, school boards and legislatures, providing the scrutiny that helps hold politicians accountable."

Jane Nicholes

Jane Nicholes is a veteran journalist based in coastal Alabama and is a regular contributor to SNPA. Reach her at jbnicholes@att.net.

Suggestions for future stories and comments on this piece are welcomed.

tariffs, newsprint
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