Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shorter Ryan Blethen: Do not take welfare away from newspapers

Good-bye welfare for newspapers.

One of the more disturbing bills comes from Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina. House Bill 1818 would create a state-run website where all county notices. Current law stipulates that government notices must run in a newspaper, a longtime practice that has served the public well.

Newspapers are watchdogs of government. This is done in a number of ways, the most obvious being through reporting. As important are the paid legal notices.
. . .
The other consequence is financial. The Times, like other newspapers, stands to lose revenue. For a larger paper like The Times the hit would not be too bad. But for a weekly it will mean jobs, and may even force some weeklies to close. I have to believe that legislators do not want to be responsible for shuttering community newspapers.

Opinion | Bills threaten people's ability to remain informed of government actions | Seattle Times Newspaper

Legal notices are not going away, they are going the way of the internet, the internet that can be accessed for free at your local library.

This editorial is from the same newspaper that gave Don Brunell page space as a guest columnist, "State should change how it does business, not simply cut programs".

Among other things, this is what your guy Don wrote (emphasis mine):
An obvious example is the state printing office. Lawmakers have long bandied about the idea of privatizing this function. According to The Spokesman-Review, the state printing office, founded in 1854, employs 100 state workers. But most printing jobs can be done on agency printers and bigger jobs should be outsourced to private print shops.

While the budget for the print shop is relatively small, it illustrates an important principle: Just because we've always done something doesn't mean we should continue. This budget crisis provides lawmakers — and taxpayers — with an opportunity to take a hard look at the very structure of state government.

As long as it is an opportunity to take a hard look at something that impacts somebody else, then that is something the Seattle Times is willing to support. Blethen, we are all in this together, it is a "crisis". You have to do your part, too.