Newsprint Scarcity and Liberty of the Press
All Surveys of present and prospective supplies of newsprint paper indicate a long continuation of the present condition of shortage in all parts of the world. The shortage is less acute in the United States than in most other countries, but the outlook for the future is not reassuring. The United States consumes well over half the world output of newsprint, but less than one-fifth of its supplies are produced within its own borders.
The world demand for newsprint is expected to increase sharply in future years—and the competition for available supplies to intensify—as economic conditions in foreign countries improve, as populations increase, as illiteracy declines, and as latent desires for ready access to printed news reports are stimulated by world political and economic conflicts.
A scarcity of newsprint has a direct dollars-and-cents meaning for newspaper publishers, but it also has an indirect meaning for the “democratic way of life”—which rests in large part on a free press and a well-informed citizenry. In the present clash of ideologies, which tends to divide the world into two sharply-opposed camps, “reading …is the most basic technique for helping the people to understand their place in the world …and to take a hand in controlling their lives in their own way.”