Tariffs on Canadian newsprint could wipe out small-town newspapers

July 30, 2018

HARTINGTON - The survival of small-town newspapers in Nebraska and elsewhere is being threatened as the Trump administration is placing higher tariffs on bulk newsprint paper produced in Canada.

Rob Dump of Hartington is the publisher of six local papers in northeast Nebraska.

“This could wipe out community newspapers as we know them,” Dump says. “This is a huge thing. There are so many mom-and-pop operations out there today that are on a shoestring budget as it is. They’ve got so many other factors going against them. This is the last thing in the world they need.”

The U.S. Commerce Department is adding duties of between four and 22-percent on imports of Canadian paper. Dump says it could drive up newspaper costs more than 30-percent.

“Our subscribers are loyal customers but I don’t know that anybody is loyal enough to pay that much more all of the sudden,” he says.

Dump says he’s working with the Nebraska Press Association in urging the state’s Congressional delegation to help.

“Our congressmen and our senators were excellent and understood the problem. A couple of them were willing to sign on to a proposed bill,” Dump says. “Some other states, where they have other issues, weren’t as willing to help out.”

Dump says he buys two semi loads of paper per year and the current supply is almost gone.

Besides Hartington, he runs newspapers in Osmond, Coleridge, Laurel, Randolph and Wausa.

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