Thursday, June 14, 2012

Weekly paper develops its own ads to promote the value of public-notice advertising by governments

The young publisher of a weekly newspaper in West Texas came up with some ideas to increase readership and public support of public-notice advertising, which is under threat from local governments and state agencies that are trying to persuade legislatures that putting the legal ads on government websites would save money. The counter-argument is that people don't read government websites like they read newspapers, and many of them don't use the Internet.

Tiffany Waddell
The Texas Press Association reports, "Tiffany Waddell, the co-owner and one-woman staff of The Western Observer in Anson, started her own public notice campaign early this year, drawing from recent events affecting Jones County residents. Her first ad -- 'They Just Sold Your Cattle. Or Didn’t You Know?' -- was published after local ranchers expressed frustration in finding out the county had sold loose livestock without publishing notices in the newspaper that strays had been found. The Jones County sheriff’s office had posted the information on its website instead." Waddell told TPA that she and her husband own cattle, and "When you own 100 head, you don’t always know that one’s missing, so you don’t think, ‘Okay, I need to go look online,’ but you see the notice when you read the newspaper.”

Waddell, who is 29, has published three more ads about public notice, each one emphasizing important public information that was not readily made public or published in the Observer, the county's largest paper by circulation. “We want Jones County residents to have the information and not be left in the dark, like a mushroom,” she said. “We’re definitely not in it to make money, and the money we do make we put back into the community.” Losing public notices from the county would not be a big financial loss for the the Observer, she said, but added that they would take a big hit if the state were to stop publishing legal notices in newspapers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More importantly, are paid subscription newspapers, whose readership is declining at a rapid rate in as many households as the internet? The answer is a definitve "no" . Do notices in print provide as much functionality as on line notices? No again. Why should we as taxpayers waste money publishing notices in print? So much commerce with the state and local governments is now transacted via the internet. It is sad that formerly independent journalistic enterprises now use thier bully pulpit to advocate for government spending to line their own pockets.