Tariff On Newsprint Overturned, But Struggles Remain For The Industry In Louisiana

Sep 4, 2018

The cost of printing a newspaper has grown by more than 20% this year, in part because of a tariff the Trump administration placed on imported newsprint - the paper that newspapers are printed on. But the industry could soon be seeing some relief. Last week, the United States International Trade Commission voted to lift the newsprint tariff. 

Darrell Guillory is the Chief Operating Officer of Louisiana State Newspapers.

"It was good news," Guillory says of the tariff being overturned.  "I wouldn't call it great news. I don't know that it's going to really reduce the price of newsprint at this point, because of the supply issue that we have. We don't have that many mills producing newsprint. We're hopeful the price will come down, but I'll be very surprised if we have a 22% reduction in newsprint prices."

Guillory's company manages 23 newspapers in small towns throughout the state, like Abbeyville and Eunice.

"These are community newspapers that cover local news that the metros very seldom cover - the school boards and the city councils," he explains.

Even before the tariff, the newspaper industry was struggling, as readers and advertising sales move online. That switch to digital drove down the demand for newsprint, and with that, some American paper mills went out of business.

On this week's Capitol Access, Darrell Guillory and Tom Coleman, production manager for Louisiana State Printing, discuss why they buy their newsprint from Canada, and how the tariff has impacted the industry.