Our View: Why public notices are published


March 15, 2017

The public notices that run in this newspaper are placed there, by law, primarily for your protection.

Back when the states decided to adjudicate newspapers, it was because paid circulation papers like this one were the single best place to keep the public’s business before the eyes of the public.

That was back when most people hadn’t yet heard of a television and certainly prior to the invention of the Internet.

Several generations later, it is still the case that paid-circulation newspapers are the single best place for citizens to stay aware of what their government is doing.

In the opening scene of the science fiction classic, “The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” protagonist Arthur Dent attempts in vain to prevent bulldozers from razing his home. All the proper paperwork had been done and a notice had been tacked up at the proper agency, but nobody got around to telling Arthur that his home was in the way of a new highway bypass.

Further unbeknownst to him, intergalactic bulldozers were about to obliterate the Earth for a similar purpose.

Never mind that humans weren’t aware that the proper paperwork had been filed in the nearest star system. Never mind that humans don’t have the ability to travel to that nearby star system, a notice was legally made and the earth was in the way of an intergalactic bypass. And so the obliteration of the Earth sets our unlikely hero on his way to adventure.

Back here in Green River, those kind of things really do happen to actual people (not the intergalactic kind, of course).

Much in the way that a haystack makes the perfect place for hiding a needle, there are few better resources in which to hide information than the internet.

That’s because all of the information in the world, even the true information, is out there on the Internet.

The main problem is, how do you find it? How would you even know where to start?

And what of all the false information out there? And what of the once true information that someone has changed through by hacking a website?

This newspaper has information that pertains only to the people who live in this county - the Star, we are proud to proclaim is of, by and for the people of Sweetwater County.

Newspapers are separated from all other media in that they are protected from government interference via the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Most of us in this business understand that protection comes with an obligation to serve the best interests of the citizenry.

Which is why legislators around the country continue to recognize the importance of publishing public notices in newsprint, where they are permanent, non-hackable and credible.

Although none of those descriptors fit in a definition of what’s on the internet, state newspaper associations long ago decided to place all of their newspapers’ legal notices online, to assuage those who say the internet is the better way for all things.

But all of the local notices, those that can affect you, are gathered in one place for you, right here each and every week.


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