Pennsylvania publishers and association leaders go to Capitol Hill to fight newsprint tariffs

  • Jun 20, 2018

Positive momentum is the consensus

Last Thursday, over 55 newspaper publishers, owners and executives from across the nation descended on Capitol Hill to rally for legislators' support against crippling newsprint tariffs. The goal of these meetings was to persuade our representatives to testify at the International Trade Commission meeting on July 17, or support the Print Act.

Paul Boyle, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, for the News Media Alliance, commended Pennsylvania for being one of the most active states to aggressively fight the tariffs - crediting our Association, editorials and stories written by many newspapers for raising awareness of this debilitating issue. Paul shared the content and results of our member tariff survey with other state newspaper associations, and encouraged each to send something similar to their members.

Robin Quillon, Publisher of The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown), Bob Krasne, President, LNP (Lancaster), Ralph Martin, Executive Vice President, Steinman Communications and I had productive meetings with Chris Bowman, Legislative Director representing U.S. Representative Conor Lamb (D-18), U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-14), U.S. Representative Lloyd Smucker (R-16), Tyler Minnich, Legislative Assistant representing U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R), Charles McCoy, Chief of Staff representing U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus (R-12) and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D). Here are some highlights from our meetings.

Mike Doyle plans to get more detail on the reasons why the government is getting involved in the newspaper tariff issue. He understands our plight, but wants more information before committing to our cause.

Bob Casey has moved positively toward our side, but has not committed at this time to support the Print Act. He wants more information to present to Wilbur Ross regarding the lack of newsprint availability. PNA will gather this data through another member survey in the coming weeks.

In general, the chiefs of staff took notes, and were interested in the reasons for the tariffs. It is difficult at this point to predict whether we can reverse the current movement.

What can every newspaper in Pennsylvania do today to continue to fight against newsprint tariffs?

  • Continue to editorialize and cover the topic in your pages.
  • Contact your local and state representatives. Paul Boyle emphasized the importance of publishers reaching out personally to your congressman.
  • Ask your readers to express their concern to elected officials by reminding them how important the printed newspaper is.

We are committed to continuing our good fight and ultimately winning the battle against newsprint tariffs, but the clock is ticking. It is time to demonstrate the strength and unity of Pennsylvania newspapers by using our collective power to rally our local and national representation. Many of the newspaper representatives who came to the capital felt strongly that we made a difference, and think that momentum will continue to change opinions positively in our favor.

Thank you for doing your part, and for your continued support. Together, we're all stronger.

Mark Cohen
President, PNA

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