End of Public Notices in the Newspapers Could Spell Trouble for Local Newspapers

Well this could be big trouble for our local newspapers and lots of money saved for Hawaii County taxpayers in general.

Yesterday, Senate Bill 2233 Relating to Electronic Communication passed with amendments by a vote of 14-0:

The committee(s) on WAM recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in WAM were as follows: 14 Aye(s): Senator(s) Ige, Kidani, Chun Oakland, Dela Cruz, English, Espero, Fukunaga, Kahele, Kim, Kouchi, Ryan, Tokuda, Wakai, Slom; Aye(s) with reservations: none ; 0 No(es): none; and 0 Excused: none.

Senate Bill 2233:

Authorizes government agencies to disseminate publications of notice electronically, or in a daily or weekly publication of statewide circulation, or in a daily or weekly publication in the affected county, as appropriate; appropriates funds for the operational expenses of the office of information management technology; appropriates funds for the Hawaii public library system for public access support services; electronic notice requirement effective 7/1/2013. (SD1)

The other day Ian Lind blogged:

…But whatever the fate of this bill, the newspapers are facing another challenge in the form of a mainland competitor entering Hawaii’s market with a vertically integrated business plan designed to capture a big share of the market on publication of foreclosure notices. If you’ve been paying attention, foreclosures have been a big chunk of the legal notices category for the past several years, a situation that seems likely continue for at least several more…

Lind continued…

Hawaii newspaper publishers turned out to defend their existing monopoly on this source of government revenue. Despite protestations by some, it’s an important bit of income for publishers struggling to cope with the changing fortunes of the news industry.

But there’s another real threat to the newspaper’s legal notice revenues on the horizon. Actually, it appears to be closer than the horizon

I highly recommend reading the full post “Local newspapers face another likely competitor for lucrative legal notices“.

After I read about it and thought about it… I posted the following comment that I’m seriously thinking about doing similar to the MISSING page I have on top of this site:

This makes me want to experiment w/ posting public notices on my site on a page dedicated to just them.

I’ve heard that Stephens Media is very dependent on the government notices here on the Big Island in being able to stay profitable.