Newspaper tariffs could impact southern IL papers

Newspaper tariffs could impact southern IL papers
SIU students were able to show off their work on the big screen at the Little Muddy Film Festival. (Source: Raycom Media)

CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - The digital age has been tough enough on the physical newspaper and now the tariffs could affect the newspaper bottom line.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has decided to impose a preliminary tariff on newsprint from Canada.

Jerry Reppert, the owner of 18 local papers in southern Illinois, not happy with the tariffs on Canadian Newsprint.

"It'll hugely impact the newspapers," Reppert said.

Canadian Newsprint is used by 75-percent of U.S. publishers.  

"We've gone through tough times before like this and we will get through it just fine," Reppert said. It's going to be rough adjusting to the news holes and the papers will get smaller, do away with some of the niceties."

That is, niceties like crossword puzzles or horoscopes.

"I could see us cutting down on the size of big pictures," he said. "Instead of raising the price of the paper. It really doesn't seem fair in any stretch of the imagination."

Reppert said Congress is looking to impose a 22.5-percent tariff that could impact local papers like the Cairo Citizen to even the Wall Street Journal.

Economics expert Kevin Sylwester explained how these tariffs have pros and cons.

"We do know in the past when tariffs go up maybe some companies are helped and but other companies are hurt certainly hurt by that," Sylwester said.

Sylwester said the silver lining is newsprint companies can become more innovative.

"These newsprint mills and factories didn't face outside competition, there is no incentive to get better and to become more competitive," Sylwester said. 

Despite the changes, Reppert said his hyper-local papers are doing just fine but his hope is in our elected officials.

"I hope that Dept of Commerce, we can put enough pressure on them to rescind this idea," Reppert said.

Commerce is scheduled to announce the final determination in this investigation around August 2, 2018.

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