A recent round of news reports have underscored how critical paid public notices are for many newspapers simply trying to stay afloat.

The recent articles in Editor & Publisher, LocalMediaInsider and Poynter Institute also convey how the franchise is under increasing attacks from some state legislatures around the country. While most of these battles are over for 2020, the year ahead is fraught with new perils.

The E&P article, “Ongoing legislative battles put public notices in peril” notes that several states — Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma and South Carolina — introduced bills that, had they passed this year, would have removed the requirement that public notices be published in print.

E&P also noted that 12 states now require public notices be published online as well as in print. Fortunately, using the automated software from iPublish AdPortal Public Notices platform makes it simple. All the regulations for font, type size, and frequency are preconfigured and the notices go both online and in print with one click.

LocalMediaInsider reported that most of the recent attack bills proposed this year never made it out of committee, and only one actually passed. However, that Kentucky bill passed in 2020 and broke a two-year clean track record of defeating all legislative attacks.

Poynter Institute posted a more optimistic story. They noted in July 2020 that despite growing legislative challenges newspapers have largely retained the category, but with the loss of 75% of print advertising, public notices are now the dominant form of advertising at many local newspapers.

Some challenges may come from digital news start-ups, who are starting to claim that the print requirement is not fair to them.

The Poynter article goes on to recommend that newspapers have some form of retention plan to make notices more prominent, and include more digital options.

One of the best ways to bolster the legal requirements for public notices in newspapers is still to make it easier for private parties and governments to buy and submit them. iPublish AdPortal Public Notices solves this problem while lowering costs and increasing a valuable revenue stream, and removes one of the arguments for dropping the requirements.