West Central Tribune to stop Monday newspaper, blaming tariffs and declining ad revenue

The Willmar-based newspaper made the announcement on Tuesday.
Publish date:

Rising paper costs caused by the ongoing trade war has contributed to a Minnesota newspaper cutting one of its daily issues.

The West Central Tribune, based in Willmar, has announced that it will no longer be printing a newspaper on Mondays, instead producing a digital newspaper that can be read on its website.

It'll mean the newspaper will now publish five times a week, Tuesday to Saturday, with publisher Steve Ammerman saying giving two reasons for the change.

The most topical of those is the rise in newsprint prices driven by the recent tariffs imposed on imports to the U.S. by the Trump administration.

"This has caused a 30 percent increase in material costs, with no clear end in rising newsprint prices," Ammerman wrote, noting that the Rochester Post Bulletin had taken a similar step earlier this year.

The second reason is a decline in advertising revenues, a seemingly perennial problem facing local newspapers at a time when news consumption has increasingly shifted online.

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"I know this decision will not be popular, and I get it," Ammerman added. "We are making moves that reduce costs that will allow us to produce a quality product. This is the new way to sustainability and the future. It's a hard reality, but it is just true."

The newspaper, which is owned by the Fargo-based Forum Communications Company, has a circulation of around 16,000 from its Willmar base, covering a wide area of west-central Minnesota.

Politico reports that the Trump administration has imposed on groundwood paper imports from Canada in recent months, which has prompted an outcry from the newspaper industry hit with a sudden spike in costs.

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