Like many industries, newspapers are facing many changes due to technology.
The print industry is coping with a rapidly evolving digital world. You didn't have to visit too many tables at this weekend's Oklahoma Press Association Convention at the Grand Hotel and Resort in Shawnee to hear about the different struggles we are all facing to one degree or another.
One of the biggest pain points are the tariffs the Trump Administration placed on newsprint from Canada. Those tariffs, and the resulting American newsprint and distribution shortages, have led to more than a 30 percent increase in the cost of the paper on which the news isn printed.
Those problems are an existential concern for many companies that provide news to communities across Oklahoma and the nation.
Oklahoma publishers are lucky, however, because the state's entire congressional delegation is standing with the newspaper industry and against the damaging tariffs.
The delegation co-signed a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross this week.
"Although most of our local newspapers have websites, publishers tell us that these sites are supported by revenues from print advertising, and would be hobbled if the printed newspaper were to fail," the letter states. It went on to advocate for the 2,200 newspaper employees in Oklahoma who could be affected if the tariffs continue.
"If local newspapers are forced to cut back on their issues or close their businesses, thousands of jobs would be eliminated, forcing many of these individuals, especially in rural areas, to seek financial assistance from their government," the letter continued. "It is unlikely the administration had in mind to collect more tariffs on foreign goods in order to send them back as unemployment assistance checks to thousands of Americans who will lose their job due to the change in trade policy."
These tariffs don't just affect Canadians or some "liberal media" giants. These tariffs are hitting small towns in Oklahoma that rely on their newspaper for local news and information.
We are grateful to the Oklahoma Congressional delegation for their efforts in repealing the tariffs. Hopefully, adding their conservative voices to the chorus of people standing against the tariffs will be send a powerful message to the Department of Commerce and help overturn this damaging policy.