Robert Dalton: Notices add revenue

June 14, 2013 

Notices add revenue

I read with interest John Drescher’s June 8 column, “Publisher rallies for notices,” in which he argued for the continuation of the legal requirement that government agencies post notices of meetings and hearings in newspapers.

Drescher spoke nobly and high-mindedly of the public’s right to know, though he did not actually prove the case that newspapers are the only, or best, avenue for such notices. Just because newspaper readership figures locally are stable does not mean readers are reading such notices. However, I do support Drescher’s assertion of the public’s right to know, and I even accept that newspapers have a role in this.

I object, however, to the less than transparent attention that Drescher gave to the direct financial stake that newspapers have in the continuation of the current legal requirement. He barely alluded to that stake a time or two but did not address it directly. A completely honest defense of the current legal requirement would have dealt with the newspaper’s financial interest in this arrangement. That Drescher failed to be so transparent puts him, and your paper, in company with any other spokesperson of any other self-interested group which obscures that self-interest with language of the public interest.

Robert Dalton, Durham

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