Print media faces newsprint crisis due to UPM strike
Newspapers in Finland may be forced to stop ing within a few weeks due to a serious shortage of paper, the reported Xinhua, quoting Finnish Media Association on Wednesday.
The situation has arisen due to an ongoing strike in the only Finnish paper plant producing news, as well as the discontinuation of paper imports from Russia.
"The ing of newspapers could be challenged within a few weeks," Jukka Holmberg, CEO of the Finnish Media Association, told national broadcaster Yle on Wednesday.
MEDIA VS. DIGITAL MEDIA
Finnish paper industries, traditionally a source of news for the rest of Europe, have been reducing their output in recent years.
Currently, only the Jämsänkoski plant of United Paper Mills (UPM) produces news, but it has been closed since January due to a strike by the Paper Workers Union.
The publication of ed newspapers is particularly important in times of crisis, Tero Koskinen, head of preparedness in media resilience at Mediapooli, told the Journalist Union newspaper Journalisti this week.
Mediapooli serves as a network of Finnish media companies that supports other media organizations in preparing technically and otherwise for various threats.
"Digital media supply connections are vulnerable. If we think of a situation where digital services do not function, it would be important to get ed papers delivered," Koskinen said.
Given the current global situation, it is particularly important that the ing of newspapers should continue as normal, he added.
THREAT TO SUPPLY OF ING PLATES
As a first indication of the current challenging circumstances, Helsingin Sanomat, a leading Finnish language newspaper, has reduced the size of its weekend editions.
Besides the paper shortage, the ing industry also fears that problems could arise in the supply of ing plates. The principal component of contemporary ing plates is aluminum, of which Russia is the third-largest producer globally.
Juha Laakkonen, CEO of the Oulu-based newspaper Kaleva, told Journalisti this week that they have a supply of plates until the summer. However, the situation after that time is uncertain.
CHALLENGE TO PAPER SUPPLY
Paper supply problems in Europe had already begun before imports from Russia were reduced.
However, the shortage of paper in Europe has been described by Intergraf, the advocacy organization for European ing industries, as "unprecedented."
Intergraf said on March 10 that paper prices have increased by 45 percent on average in the last six months, even up to 80 percent for news.
With digitization expected to continually reduce demand for news, European manufacturers have been closing paper plants.
In Finland, the last major plant producing news closed in the summer of 2020, and it was thought that news production in the country would cease entirely.
However, the plant's owners United Paper Mills subsequently converted a smaller plant so it could produce news. However, this plant has been affected by the Paper Workers Union strike, which is set to continue until at least mid-April.