Friday, March 31, 2017

News series in South Dakota weekly is based on public notices, showing their value to the public

April 7 column. All eight columns can be found here.
South Dakota is one of several states where lawmakers are considering removing public notices from newspapers and placing them instead on government websites. The proposed law in South Dakota inspired Yankton County Register of Deeds Brian Hunhoff, a contributing editor of the weekly Yankton County Observer, to begin an ongoing column, "In a Minutes Notice," showing the importance of public notices being published in newspapers.

Hunhoff told The Rural Blog in an email: "It’s a news series I created by taking 90-plus percent of the content from local public notices. The idea is to remind people how much valuable info can be found in those legals and readers have really responded well." Hunoff has already written eight columns.

Hunhoff told the Public Notice Resource Center that the series is "based on news culled from meeting minutes and legal notices published in the Observer and other newspapers in the state," PNRC reports. He told the center, “I’ve been meaning to do this series for a long time, but could never seem to find the time. Then I read the [PNRC] story in the National Newspaper Association’s PubAux about all the public-notice battles taking place around the country and decided it would be a good year to finally make time and get it done.”

Hunhoff's columns "include deep dives on particular subjects, like the salaries of local public officials or the frequency and length of their executive sessions," reports PNRC. "He has also reviewed meeting minutes and budgets from 12 similar-size cities and counties to learn how Yankton County and City of Yankton rank in comparison."

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