A step forward and two back.
Just read an article about the newly-found transparency in Columbia’s government.
Then we heard that there’s been discussion about not publishing required legal notices in the local newspaper of general circulation: LNP – Always Lancaster.
Wonder whether they’re considering willfully violating state law?
We don’t know the motivation. We don’t know why or how some might consider a Harrisburg-based weekly business publication a newspaper of general circulation. We’d be willing to bet that Stover’s, for instance, sells way more LNP – Always Lancaster newspapers than Central Penn Business Journals … perhaps a hundred or more times more. And that does not take into consideration the home delivered daily newspapers.
Perhaps because some reckon that a lack of a steady diet of “friendly” or bland news is not the place that the borough should pay to publish LEGAL NOTICES.
It cannot be to save money or to expand the notification to a wider audience of its citizens and constituents; if the motivation was that, then LEGAL ADVERTISING would certainly find its way to a prominent location at the Website. There’s almost no cost for that.
It’s getting harder than ever to find the real circulation (“Circulation.”The number of copies printed, issued, sold, or subscribed for, by the day, week, month, or year, at a particular price for each copy, or for a series of issues over a definite period by any publication, but the term does not include copies exchanged for other publications or copies or issues circulated gratuitously.) of any publication. Or any traditional medium, for that matter.
That’s guarded information and not easily verified.
The United States Postal Services does require publishers using the mails for deliver of publications to file an annual statement: Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (All Periodicals Publications Except Requester Publications).
“If the publication had Periodicals authorization as a general publication, this Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation must be published, i.e., it must be printed in an issue that’s primary mailed distribution is produced not later than October 10 for publications issued more frequently than weekly; or not later than October 31 for publications issued weekly or less frequently but more frequently than monthly; or in the first issue that’s primary mailed distribution is produced after October 1 for all other publications.”
Got October’s copies of LNP – Always Lancaster or a Harrisburg business publication lying about?
But that kind of like telling your doctor how much you weigh rather than stepping on the scales.
Every once in a while, a state legislator throws out a motion to have municipalities use their Websites to publish LEGAL NOTICES and not have to pay newspapers. At this point, these pieces of intended legislation do not get traction. Perhaps because they know that Internet penetration is even less knows than media penetration … or they don’t trust the municipalities to be above board and transparent.
Slippery slope, no easy answers in a new normal of media, reach, penetration, use and whatever.
What remains, though, is the state law – the one that states that LEGAL NOTICES MUST BE PUBLISHED IN “in either a newspaper of general circulation, a legal newspaper or an official newspaper.”
Don’t like the laws? Get them changed. Follow them or violate them.