One more kick in the kidneys for papers: The end of legal ads

One form of revenue – and, truth be told, government subsidy – for newspapers that hasn’t gone away – yet – is legal ads. Laws require notices to be given to the population as a whole and newspapers were judged to be the best vehicle for them. No more. A court in Maine just ruled that notice in a paper is no longer sufficient because papers are now, well, too puny.

In a unanimous decision published Tuesday on the court’s Web site, Associate Justice William Clifford wrote that the practice of putting lawsuit notification in a newspaper began “when newspapers were the only means of print mass communication, and when newspapers were more widely and intensely read than is now the case … Because service by publication has become less likely to achieve actual notice of a lawsuit, it is also less likely to meet the requirements of due process.”

See, too, John Bury in the Star-Ledger’s NJ Voices saying that politicians will kill legal ads – and with them, some papers – when they wise up.