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MNA delegation heads to D.C. seeking tariff relief

Minnesota Newspaper Association (MNA) members were in Washington, D.C., last week urging lawmakers to intervene in a recent U.S. Department of Commerce decision they believe poses a serious threat to the future of not only newspapers across the state and nation, but to freedom of the press itself.
A group of Minnesota newspaper representatives met with members of the state’s congressional delegation and their staffers last Thursday in Washington as part of a coordinated effort by the D.C.-based News Media Alliance to rally support on Capitol Hill for a halt to recently imposed tariffs on Canadian newsprint.
Justin Lessman, publisher of the Jackson County Pilot and Lakefield Standard, and a member of the MNA Board of Directors, said the new import tariffs — which have increased the cost of paper on which newspapers are printed by as much as 40 percent — jeopardize the viability of the newspaper industry and pose a direct threat to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Newspapers faced with significantly higher costs as a result of these unwanted tariffs are being forced to reduce pages dedicated to news, cut staff committed to gathering and reporting news and either raise subscription rates for paid-circulation newspapers or reduce distribution of free community newspapers — all of which impede community access to news and information,” Lessman said last week. “Newspapers are the only business enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and these tariffs are posing a serious threat to their ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right.”
The tariffs are also having a wide-reaching economic effect. Open positions at some newspapers are going unfilled, while others are faced with cutting staff. Businesses that rely on newspapers for communication of their messaging may encounter diminished market penetration and higher advertising costs. Even farmers who supply soy ink for newspapers may feel the pain as demand softens. “This tariff could well have a devastating trickle-down effect on the state and national economy,” said MNA Vice President Karin Ramige, publisher of The McLeod County Chronicle and Arlington Enterprise.
For more, see the June 20 print edition of The Chronicle.