Many of you may have already heard this lament. If you haven’t, then you should have.
For the most part, we have kept our head down in the Donald Trump crossfire that consumes this country. It’s not that we don’t have an opinion on the nation’s 45th president; everyone does, and we are included. It’s more that we don’t know that we can add to the conversation in a meaningful way when no one seems in a mood to have their mind changed.
But today with Trump, it’s personal, so we will go there.
One of the targets in Trump’s Tariffs War has been newsprint from Canada — which you are now holding in your hands — the cost of which has risen about 30 percent since the beginning of this year. The tariffs are protecting a single Washington plant that apparently can’t otherwise effectively compete, but is being shielded by the president from the free market — a decidedly unRepublican approach and contrary to the capitalistic fundamentals that have given us the world’s No. 1 economy and nourishes it.
Newsprint, unsurprisingly, is a major expense for any newspaper — and its rising cost is just one of the many obstacles faced by our industry, which is why few days pass without more news of newspapers reducing staff or locking the doors. Last week it was the venerable New York Post that began the day one thing and ended it something much less, losing a reported 400 jobs.
That’s a lot of people from one building now looking for work — most in an industry that continues to shrink.
Another example comes from closer to home. In fact, it’s just 33 miles to the east, where our sister newspaper, The Robesonian, was forced to discontinue the color comics in its Sunday editions. While that might not seem like a big deal here, it really is there — and it begs the question, “what’s next?”
The cost of newsprint is one of many challenges facing the industry today, and others include the way people consume their news, more and more through the internet and social media, where truth hardly matters.
Imagine, if you will, that The Laurinburg Exchange didn’t exist — and the public was left to gather on their own the news that matters. For more and more communities, that is becoming the reality — the watchdog is no more.
Our intent today is not to sound a false alarm. Despite the many challenges and difficult decisions, The Exchange is a healthy newspaper, fortunate to have loyal readers of both the print edition and online version — as well as faithful advertisers. We could use more of both — and if you appreciate our efforts to fight the corruption, but don’t support us financially, consider this a call to do so.
Like all newspapers, we have been asked to do more with less, and rarely a day goes by that we don’t talk about how we can be nimble in figuring out how best to use our dwindling resources. But the road continues to get bumpier.
Before things can turn the corner, something has to break to our benefit — additional readers and advertisers, or a change of heart at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Of those two, we know which is more likely.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“When one domino falls, a second is sure to follow.” (Unknown)