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In support of local newspapers

KAREN MEYERS

Wellsboro

Even in the supposedly digital age, small, rural newspapers remain the lifeblood of local communications and businesses.

They cover issues of importance to their readers that would never be covered elsewhere. They provide advertising space for local businesses.

They announce community events that larger media outlets ignore. They keep their communities connected.

The current administration’s recent 20-percent tariff on Canadian newsprint threatens the quality and even the existence of these small papers. American newsprint remains expensive. It is hard to raise subscription and/or advertising prices in areas that are not affluent. It is hard to increase digital subscriptions in areas with older subscribers and spotty internet service. Rural papers are run by small, dedicated staffs who already work a lot for not much money. Editions can become smaller or more infrequent, but that leaves out news readers need.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has introduced S.2835, the PRINT Act, that would suspend the tariffs while the Commerce Department studies the effect they would have on the newspaper industry.

The bill has 31 bipartisan co-sponsors, including Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey, who has repeatedly spoken against President Trump’s trade policies. I have written to Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, urging him to vote for the PRINT Act. U.S. Rep Kristi Noem of South Dakota has introduced a companion bill, H.R. 6031, in the House, with 38 bipartisan co-sponsors. U.S. Rep. Tom Marino is not among them. I have written him, calling for his vote.

I hope other citizens will join me in supporting this bill. Local newspapers are “Friends of the people.”

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