Along with open meeting and freedom of information laws, public notice is an essential element of the
remain the primary vehicle for public notice in
all 50 states.
This is not about "newspapers vs the internet".
It's newspapers and newspaper websites vs government websites
AND newspaper websites have a much larger audience. Moving notice from newspapers to government websites would
reduce the presence of public notices on the internet.
Since the first U.S. Congress, public officials have understood that newspapers are the best medium to notify the public about official matters because they contain the
essential elements of public notice:
Publishing notices on the internet is neither cheap nor free.
Newsprint is inherently superior to the internet for public notice
because reading a newspaper is a serendipitous process.
We find things in newspapers we weren't expecting to see. On the internet, we search for specific information and ignore everything else.
Moreover, the real
digital divide for public notice is growingdue to the massive migration to smartphones and other small-screen digital devices.
Significant numbers of people in rural areas still lack high-speed internet access.
Those who are older than 65 or who have lower incomes or lack high-school diplomas are also cut off from the internet in far higher numbers than the average.
Citizens continue to learn about vital civic matters from
Documented examples of people taking action and alerting their community after reading a newspaper notice are reported on a regular basis.
Requiring independent, third-party newspapers to ensure that public notices run in accordance with the law helps
prevent government officials from hiding information
they would prefer the public not to see.
Governments aren't very good at publishing information on the internet.
Unlike newspaper publishers,
public officials aren't compelled by the free market to operate effective websites.
Verifying publication is difficult-to impossible on the web.
That's why the courts subject digital evidence to far greater scrutiny than evidence published in newspapers.
Editor’s Note: Reprinted with permission from the Public Notice Resource Center that works to promote effective public notice and to educate the public about its right to know. The PNRC website is at https://www.pnrc.net