HOW SILLY IS THIS: NEWSPAPERS FIGHT ELECTRONIC POSTING OF PUBLIC NOTICES
April 22, 2013There are two stories, at least, here. First, the obvious one.
A group of legislators, mostly from the western part of the state, decided that public notices required by law should be able to be published electronically rather than as has been required by law since before the internet was invented, in certain newspapers. Boy did it stir up a ruckus. The N. C. Press Association went bonkers. But who can blame them. It's a cash cow for many local struggling newspapers.
So a number of publishers (the ones who make money with newspapers) are lobbying the salons heavily to kill the bill, even though it does not even apply to the counties of some of those pitching a hissy fit. They see it as handwriting on the wall, no doubt.
Click here to download and read the bill. (Fair disclosure: The Observer office gang has a pool going to see who can most accurately guess how many times it will be downloaded. We are each trying to get the lowest numbers).
Now, here' the second, and to us, more interesting story here. It is a perfect example of biased journalism by the Elite Media. In this case it is a piece written by Bob Ashley, the editor of the Durham Herald-Sun. We'll let it speak for itself: Click here to go to the original source.
This is about as silly a scrap as we've seen in recent years.
First, nobody reads this junk. It is only intended to allow government officials to say "we'll we published it in the paper" whenever anyone complains they didn't know about something the government was doing, and that hardly ever makes any difference anyway.
Secondly, it is sad and shameful that these newspaper people are so desperate to hang on to this revenue. Of course they are going down the tubes and to be sure they realize that paid public notices are not going to save them. Craig's List has already annihilated their want-ad gig and advertisers are flocking away from them. Subscribers are fleeing and no amount of public money for these silly ads is going to save the newspaper industry.
Certainly it makes more sense for the public notices to be posted on the government's website.
But if this dude from Durham wants to argue that the notices should be posted where they are more likely to be seen by more people then they should be put on websites like the Beaufort Observer. While we don't particularly care about having to mess with them, it is ironic that we have three times more readers every day than does the local "newspaper of record" that publishes the notices. We publish the important ones, free of charge, and we know how many people read them. It would be a shame and a sham to take taxpayer money for publishing these notices.
So we think the bill should be passed. And we think the dinosaurs with ink running in their veins should just suck it up and join the times.
Surely our legislators have more important things to do.