Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wake me when it's over

National Newspaper Week is here. I almost missed it.

The theme this year is "Public Notice: Good Government on Display" and the Newspaper Association Managers (NAM on second reference) have offered a downloadable press kit. The aim of the editorials and cartoons and crossword is that it's important for government to keep running paid legal notices in newspapers because, well, it's oh so much better than the free Internet.

"Why in the world should governmental entities spend taxpayers’ money on public notices when they can post them on the Internet for next to nothing?" gushes one canned editorial. "Because the taxpayers have a right to know, have a need to know and want to know, that’s why. The argument is as simple as that."

Not sure I can get worked up about a campaign aimed at convincing local governments keep buying ad space for legals. I'd be more enthused if NAM didn't have such a clear profit motive. The key to better government isn't more advertising, it's investing money on watchdog reporting.

Speaking of which, National Sunshine Week is March 15-21. Now, there's a week to get excited about.