Nicely Balanced Story on the Threat of Legal Notices' Move out of Print
For those of you interested in the business of legal notices and do not read articles on the business of newspapers, this morning's Poynter.org web site had a well balanced piece on the eventual migration of Legal Notices on line from print entitled "New Revenue Threat Looms as Newspapers Legal Notice Franchise Comes Under Fresh Pressure from Cash-Strapped States." Rick Edmonds presents both points of view fairly. He cites that in Virginia there are 8 bills now proposed that in different situations, move legal notices out of print and that in Virginia "Having a cordial relationship with print media may be a low priority for that state's political establishment."
Edmonds neglected one recent development. In the past two weeks, in legislative battles over legal notices in Arizona, and Hawaii, on-line news publishers have begun to advocate for the bills giving local governments the choice to publish their notices in print or on line. In Hawaii, John Temple , Editor of the Honolulu Civil Beat has been advocating for the recent pair of bills SB2219 and SB2233 that would allow local governments to publish notices on line. Honolulu Civil Beat is not to be taken lightly . Mr. Temple was the editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver . The News won 4 Pulitzer Prizes under his direction from 1998-2009. Honolulu Civil Beat is published by Pierre Omidyar who founded E-Bay and is #49 on Forbes Magazines richest Americans and is according to Forbes, worth $6.2 Billion. In Arizona, from a smaller news organization, Lynne Lamaster, Publisher of enewsaz.com has advocated no less vociferously for change in the legal notice laws.
As the influence of print publishers falls and the number of on line news organizations rise, the noise around this issue at the state house level, which has been decidedly one-sided in favor of the newspaper, will even out and the bills will begin to pass.