Today is the start of Public Notice Week in Tennessee. Over the next few days, we will call attention to one of the most important roles newspapers fill — keeping you informed of government meetings, land transactions and other legal proceedings that by state law require public notices.
We consider this to be a sacred and time-tested service, and one that our readers have come to expect from newspapers.
In recent years, however, there have been a number of state and local officials who want to remove public notices from newspapers and allow governments to place them on hard-to-find government websites under the excuse of saving money.
We believe this would do great injury to the citizens of Tennessee.
Before state law required these notices to be printed in local newspapers of record, they were hammered on signboards near the courthouse. These notices could sometimes be hard to find and even harder to read.
There are many Tennesseans who are active in their communities but who are not online and have no desire to be. How would they have access to these notices if they are only published on a website?
Publication of these public notices in local newspapers represents an accessible permanent record that cannot be forged or altered by a computer hacker.
Newspapers have been a trusted source for these public notices for decades and we see no reason for that to change now.