- The Tampa Bay Times, one of the largest newspapers in the US, will lay off around 50 people.
- The publication said the layoffs come in direct response to a new tariff on newsprint.
- Local newspapers across the US are worried the tariff, imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration, could hurt their business.
The Tampa Bay Times, one of the largest US newspapers by circulation, plans to lay off around 50 people starting Thursday in a direct response to a new tariff imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration.
The Tampa Bay Times confirmed the layoffs to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
In March, Paul Tash, the Times’ chairman and CEO, wrote in the paper that new tariffs on imported newsprint would increase the company’s costs by roughly $US3 million a year.
“These tariffs will also hurt our employees, because payroll is the only expense that is bigger than newsprint,” Tash warned. “To help offset the extra expense of paper, publishers will eliminate jobs. Make no mistake: These tariffs will cause layoffs across American newspapers, including this one.”
A Tampa Bay Times spokesperson told the Tampa Bay Business Journal that the cuts came because of the tariffs and that the layoffs “are taking place throughout the organisation.”
The tariffs were imposed on imports of Canadian newsprint after a Washington-based paper producer owned by the hedge fund One Rock Capital lodged a complaint with the Department of Commerce.
Using a similar investigation process that led to new tariffs on steel and aluminium, the Commerce Department imposed a tariff on newsprint imports in January and increased their size in March.
The tariffs left local newspapers, already facing financial constraints, worried about how their businesses could handle the cost increase.
For the Tampa Bay Times, the cuts represent another round of trouble in a string of tough financial decisions. According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the paper was forced to take out a $US12 million loan and a $US20 million secured credit line in 2017 to shore up its finances.
The Tampa Bay Times is owned by the nonprofit journalism school the Poynter Institute. It a daily circulation of just under 240,000 and reaches 1.6 million people a week online and in print. The paper is one of the 15 largest in the US by circulation.
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