CBS Sacramento

Gridley Herald Newspaper Closes Amid Newsprint Tariff Fight

August 31, 2018

GRIDLEY (CBS13) — A newspaper unexpectedly shuttered its doors after nearly 140 years of serving the area. .

The Gridley Herald published the last issue of the weekly paper in its 137-year history on Friday.

Staff were abruptly told on Thursday that the newspaper issue they were putting together on Friday would be the last by representatives from its parent company, GateHouse Media.

GateHouse Media owns 10 other newspapers in California, including the Stockton Record.  It boasts a reach of 570 markets in 37 states.

It’s with great sadness that I announce that today was my last day as sports reporter for the Gridley Herald.

Our corporate owners at Gatehouse Media informed us today…while we were putting out Friday’s paper…that it would be our last. We are being shut down to save money.

— David Vantress (@dvantressGH) August 31, 2018

Friday’s newspaper included a statement from the publisher.

“It is with genuine dismay, grief and sorrow that I write our communities to say that we have just received word Thursday morning that this will be our last newspaper.”

Among the reasons were the increase in the cost of newsprint.

The Trump Administration pushed a tariff on Canadian newsprint earlier this month, capping tariffs at nearly 17 percent. The tariff had been floated since March of this year and the markets priced in the increased costs from the tariffs in the months leading up to them going into effect in August.

The trade measures were put in place after one paper mill in Washington state complained about Canadian imports. North Pacific Paper Company, owned by One Rock Capital Partners, filed the request in 2017

On Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission overturned the tariffs, saying there was no harm to paper producers.

That decision appears to be too late to save a newspaper serving the Gridley, Live Oak and Biggs for 137 years.

This story originally appeared on CBS Sacramento on Aug. 31, 2018.