Sunday, September 10, 2006

This May be Interesting to Watch

With a tip of the cap to the News Journal editorial page, I point to a new web site: Delaware Public Notices. This is a page posted by the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association to share Delaware government legal notices.

I'll be watching it to see how complete and timely it is, but I can see this as useful in several pursuits.

The head of the Press Association has a "Delaware Voice" column in the paper as well, explaining the thinking behind the new site. He explains that the site is in part a response to a proposal in the legislature last session to stop using newspaper classified sections for state government legal ads. He argues that not using newspaper ads would reduce public confidence.
By placing notices in newspapers, the state reassures the public that no backroom deals are being cut and no contracts are being awarded under the table. The newspapers can monitor that the government has followed the law in inviting bids on contracts or is notifying the public about major projects.

For now at least, ordinary residents are more likely to come across a notice that they were not actively seeking when it is published in a newspaper. On the Internet, most people only find what they are seeking.
I'm not sure I agree completely. I have not looked at the legals section of a newspaper in ages. I don't think most people do; only those who actively seek out the government public notices.

But I have no objection to maintaining the legal ads in print. The cost is not that huge. I am glad to see another outlet for information added, though. And I think we can trust the Press Association to do a thorough job.

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