New Jersey newspapers worry about new bill

January 28, 2012 by  

The New Jersey legislature will vote on a bill that gives governments the option to skip buying legal advertisements in newspapers. This is provided that they self-publish legal notices and public record on the internet.

When this bill was brought up a year ago, it was heavily criticized by good-government advocates and newspaper management. Supporters of the bill say it will save governments hundreds of thousands of dollars. This money could then be spent on more worthwhile endeavors. On the other side of the coin, opponents believe that this move would limit public access to government information.

If the bill is passed it will affect newspapers, printing services and residents all over New Jersey. For example both national papers and local papers in towns such as Hamilton will be affected. Currently the newspaper industry is making over 50 million dollars a year from government advertising. If this revenue stops, some papers will be forced to shut down.

While this is an unnerving situation for some newspapers, they need to understand that this bill has been passed in other areas and countries. As internet use has become more widespread, the future of the print industry is being questioned. Newspapers who wish to continue selling a print edition will need to find more advertisers. Those who have several significant sources of income will not need to worry if one of them no longer requires their services. When push comes to shove, the approval of the bill is in the hands of the Legislature.