Newspaper Industry Faces Assault On Public Notices

Public notices, also known as legal notices, are a mainstay of newspaper-industry revenue. But in recent days they’ve come under assault, with at least five state legislatures moving to relax requirements that municipal and state governments post public notices in local newspapers.

Last week for example, a measure to allow state and county agencies to stop publishing certain official notices in Hawaii’s daily newspapers was approved by a state senate committee. The bill would allow Hawaii government agencies to publish some public notices on agencies’ web sites instead of in the newspapers. Agencies argue that they can save hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result.

Also last week, the Florida House of Representatives approved a bill that would give governmental agencies the option to publish legal notices on a publicly accessible website of the affected county instead of in a print newspaper.

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