Publishers’ summit called for Sept. 13 to address preservation of public notice advertising


In light of the 2019 General Assembly’s near elimination of the publication of sheriff’s sale (mortgage foreclosure) notices in Indiana newspapers, Hoosier State Press Association Board of Directors President Pat Lanman has issued a call for publishers to attend a summit on the preservation of public notice advertising to be held on Friday, Sept. 13, in conjunction with the Annual Conference and Advertising Awards Gala.

Lanman announced the summit in a letter to Indiana’s publishers. We laid out the argument for the conclave in the letter’s opening paragraphs.

“For years the newspaper industry has stood as the “4th Estate” in our country, but in the past few years, at the local, state, and national levels, newspapers have come under attack as out of touch, out of style, and out of price range,” he wrote.

“With the advent of social media, websites, and other electronic ways to communicate and spread information over the past few years, our industry has withstood several attempts to move public notice information out of our products and onto the Internet. This push seems to be fueled by several issues, including but not limited to: cost of placing the advertising and the erosion of relationships between our industry and our elected officials at all levels.”

Failure to preserve an independent publication of public notices is not only a blow to government transparency, but a probable death knell for multiple Indiana newspapers, said Steve Key, executive director and general counsel for HSPA.

“Legislators are now proud to say that they don’t read local newspapers, something unheard of in past years,” Lanman lamented. His letter recounted the struggle to defeat H.B. 1212 during the 2019 legislative session. That bill would have eliminated the publication requirement for notices of sheriff’s sales (mortgage foreclosures).

The summit will run from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13. It replaces the originally planned roundtable discussions and idea sharing sessions for publishers in the original program. There will be no registration fee for the publishers’ summit, but HSPA hopes you’ll consider combining your attendance with the Conference and Awards Gala to support the excellent work done by Indiana newspaper advertising staffs. You might also consider staying over for Saturday’s Better Newspaper Contest Awards Luncheon to support the best of Indiana newspaper journalism.

The summit will be held at The Nest Event Center, 400 Byrd Way, Greenwood, IN 46143.

“Most of all, the elimination of public notice is going to devastate the communities we serve and the people who live in them,” Lanman wrote. “People’s property is going to be sold with very little public knowledge; and soon policies and laws will be changed; budgets will be adopted; and agencies abolished and created without public input and out of the public’s view. We simply cannot allow this to happen.”