Public Notices: The Fight That Keeps On Ticking

Retaining Public Notices is the newspaper battle that never quits.

Throughout NAM, major fights in state legislatures continue. The update: Some victories (phew), lots of worries (ugh).

When I ask what are “the issues that keep you up at night,” Public Notices fall in the Top 3. Often, it is the No. 1 concern.

We all the know the reasons well: They still represent valued revenue, but they also remain an important anchor to transparent government.

No one has total confidence in local and state/provincial officials being the beacons of informing the public in a trusted medium. (Ask me how long it took my city to change the address for my property tax bill and how many times I had to visit City Hall to explain the problem.)

At the same time, have you asked yourself this:

What else do I need to do to keep Public Notices? Is there something new to change the discussion?

In Virginia, committing to putting all Public Notices on a statewide web site helped beat back opposition. Many of you have taken that route.

What’s the 2020 win?

In my Relevance Project discussions with executive directors, I encountered only a handful who acknowledged an annual effort to collect data about the use of Public Notices.

This might be the year to conduct thorough reader and member surveys on the public need, interest and use of government notices.

Your value propositions is linked to whether government is doing a great job of informing the public.
If they’re not, there’s your thunder.

If they are and they don’t cite you, you’re going to stay awake at night for sure. Start digging into the reasons.

Getting fresh data or public-survey results could be the ticket to new victories. It might also open your eyes to fresh opportunities.

Good luck. We want you to win.

—TAS

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