Hometown newspapers need hometown support

By: 
U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (S.D.)
Chances are that if you are reading this, you subscribe to a local newspaper. Publications like this play an instrumental role in keeping communities strong and informed. Sadly, many are disappearing from our rural communities, making it increasingly difficult to stay connected with what’s happening within the local school system, around town and around the state.
The ever-increasing cost of production is one of the most common concerns South Dakota’s newspapers raise with me. In recent years, new tariffs on Canadian newsprint have increased paper prices by 20 to 30 percent. That’s significant. A paper that services around 20,000 customers, for instance, could see paper costs rise by about a quarter-million dollars annually, threatening the newspaper’s survival.
As David Bordewyk, the Executive Director of the South Dakota Newspaper Association, told me: “I have already heard from South Dakota newspaper publishers who fear that if these tariffs were to carry forward indefinitely, they will very well be forced to close their doors. That creates a ripple effect in the community for businesses that rely on the local newspaper to advertise and promote their goods and services.”
To help ease the burden, I introduced the PRINT Act in early June. This legislation places a temporary hold on the newsprint tariffs, giving time for the Commerce Department to investigate the negative impact the tariffs have on our hometown papers.
As Bordewyk explains it: “This legislation will provide some breathing room and an opportunity for a more complete review and analysis.”
The PRINT Act is the latest in a series of efforts to better support our local newspapers. During tax reform, many South Dakota newspapers reached out with concerns about a proposed “Ad Tax,” which would have forced news organizations to pay taxes on advertising dollars. The impact of a tax like that would have been widespread and made it more expensive for local businesses to advertise their goods and services. In the end, we were able to stave off the proposed tax hike.  
Even if you can mitigate costs, however, delivery can be a challenge. In recent years, the U.S. Postal Service has threatened to cut Saturday delivery, a move that would have dealt another devastating blow to the local newspaper industry, which relies heavily on consistent and reliable mail service.  We successfully fought the measure and forced the Postal Service to create organizational efficiencies before cutting services to South Dakota families, newspapers, and businesses.
Today, South Dakota is home to more than 125 local newspapers. That’s a number we need to protect. Their reporting reminds us the world is made of neighborhoods and shared experiences. It keeps us connected and strengthens our sense of community and connection. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

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The Brandon Valley Journal

 

The Brandon Valley Journal
1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
(605) 582-9999

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