Halt laws moving public notices

Apr. 30, 2013 @ 04:16 AM

I live in rural Rutherford County. The Daily Courier may not be a big and fancy newspaper, but it meets my needs. My household reads it — via real paper, not the Internet — in order to know what is going on in the county.

AND, that includes all notices that are required by law to be put in the newspaper so that the citizens know what the local governments and state are up to.

We actually READ the foreclosures, the notice to creditors for estates, and all the other rather curious — as well as — standard notices which include local government meetings, etc.

I often drop in on some of those local government meetings a couple of times a year just to see what is actually going on, [like witnessing a favorite teams’ sporting event first-hand when I’ve read coverage of the same all year long].

Government transparency requires newspaper notices. Many of the people I know do not have access to the Internet. A printed newspaper is readily accessible by all.

Notices and advertisements have been the life’s blood [or if you prefer a more garish explanation: “cash cow”] that pays for the printing of the newspaper and now you want to potentially reduce every newspaper’s income drastically in this economy? Without notices and advertisements, there will likely be no small-town newspapers in the future.

If your theory is to reduce the costs for the government ... what about the costs to citizens of this state — this would cause us to end up with NO local newspaper because government decided to axe the newspaper notices in order to put them on the Internet to save money.

However, instead of increasing the exposure of the same, it will limit the exposure due to a lack of EVERY citizen NOT having Internet accessibility.

Is this a shady attempt by government to HIDE something from the general public?

Without their small town newspaper, how would the average citizen find out about the outcome of local government meetings, obituaries, church events, local sporting news — with pictures of our children to cut out and send to grandmas — listings of honor roll students, new business ribbon-cuttings, marriage licenses, land transfers, building permits, police reports, fire reports, engagement and wedding announcements, baby announcements, and local sales events at local businesses; in fact, local everything!

If you pass these bills, it would be like pouring “Round-Up” on every viable small newspaper in the state. The small ones will curl up and die as well as creating an issue of small communities curling up and dying with them.

I implore you to vote for House Bill 723 instead. Save our small town newspapers.

SNbS

Theresa (Teri) St. John is a resident of Forest City.