Trade War collateral damage

Recent sparring between motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson and the Trump Administration was front page news of late.

Another industry affected by the emerging trade war garnering less coverage is the 25% American tariff on Canadian newsprint that came about as request of one Washington State paper mill.

Most American newspapers purchase their newsprint from Canadian manufacturers including the parent firm of this publication.

The headline of a recent business section feature in the Washington Post "Newsprint tariffs put strain on publications: Trump policy at protecting U.S. Mills is squeezing the budget at every newspaper in the country."

To protect about 300 American papermill jobs, the livelihoods of thousands of journalists and newspaper employees are at stake.

The article profiles the challenges of Shaw Media, owners of two small daily papers in rural Illinois.

The publisher of another newspaper estimates the cost will affect the cost of each newspaper an average of 5 cents. Perhaps not much but the value of two reporters whose jobs will likely be cut.

Nearly half of the newspapers surveyed by the Illinois Press Association have reduced their pages counts since early May.

Said Rick Campbell, partner in a firm that owns five small newspaper in the Southern Illinois, "I have major concerns for the whole industry but especially small community newspapers in rural American, where papers have a strong presence in people’s everyday lives."

After two decades of declining advertising revenue due to online and digital competition, if the tariffs become permanent, readers should expect smaller and smaller print editions across the board. And in some communities, the end of the publication altogether.

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In 1943 while he was serving as Ohio Senator from Belmont County, Enterprise editor Ray Palmer started writing a column he titled "This Week - Here and There." Our modified title is "Here and There."