"My fear is for the community newspapers that don’t see this coming. This is a tidal wave that could wipe out a lot of community newspapers," Tony Smithson, vice president of printing for Bliss Communications in Janesville, Wis., told the publishers as they headed for Capitol Hill. As a publisher and printer in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s hometown, Smithson is a point man for the newsprint efforts of the National Newspaper Association, which organizes a lobbying blitz by community newspaper publishers every March.
This year's gathering began the day after the Department of Commerce announced preliminary "anti-dumping" duties as high as 22.16 percent on Canadian imports of untreated groundwood paper, such as newsprint. The new tariffs are in addition to a first round announced Jan. 9, ranging from 4.4 to 9.9 percent. “Newspapers could see an 8 to 10 percent increase in production costs in the short term,” Smithson told the publishers.