Tariffs hurting us right here, right now
Here at the Kenwood Press we are “hyper-local.” Our focus is on Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont first. Then we expand our circle of coverage to include the wider Sonoma Valley, and Sonoma County, as events affect us right here along Highway 12. You can get state and national news almost anywhere, but you can only get Crime Watch and Village Chat in these pages. And for the most part, it’s been a good business model for us. It’s no secret that all our revenue comes from advertising, and advertisers like it that all of you read the paper cover to cover. Thank you.
We have always told contributors to save their political pieces for other publications, and it’s rare that state or national events impact our reporting. So we were dismayed to find out that tariffs of 29 to 32 percent on Canadian uncoated groundwood papers, including newsprint and other papers, will directly affect our bottom line. And not only ours, but those of other newspapers, paper producers, and book publishers throughout the country, and other further down the supply chain (ink and equipment manufacturers, for example).
Our printer tells us that not only are prices going up drastically, but that moving forward, the bigger issue will be getting paper at all. Deliveries from paper mills are three to four weeks out now, and some mills are not even returning phone calls.
The printing, publishing and paper-producing industries employ over 600,000 workers. Here at the Kenwood Press, our biggest cost, other than salaries, is printing, as it is at most other publications around the country. Many smaller circulation print publications are hanging by a thread already, and we imagine that many of them provide their communities with the only local reporting for their area.
Why the tariff? According to a newly formed advocacy group called STOPP (Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers), it was initiated by petitions filed by a single newsprint mill, NORPAC, an outlier in the industry that is owned by a New York hedge fund, with no additional pulp or paper operations in the United States or globally. NORPAC is looking to use the U.S. government for its own financial gain.
STOPP members include media associations from all over the United States, from Alabama to Wisconsin, Trusted Media Brands (formerly Readers Digest Association), Resolute Forest Products, Rayonier Advance Materials, Quad Graphics, the paper products industry, and book manufacturers, among others. For more information go to www.stopnewsprinttariffs.org.
This country can’t afford to lose any more newspapers or book publishers. We’ll be contacting our representatives to urge Congress and the International Trade Commission to reject these counterproductive tariffs. Please join us.
– Alec and Ann