One of the staple sources of finance for newspapers over the last century has been local and national government advertising — but now that revenue is under threat, as politicians realise the value and immediacy of publishing their public notices online and often use their own sites. During a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the battered state of The Herald and Newsquest’s other Glasgow titles, the full transcript of the debate quotes Conservative MSP and former journalist Ted Brocklebank saying “the Scottish Government is in five different areas of Scotland trialling the publication of public and statutory notices on the web. If the trials are successful, it could mean a massive loss of advertising revenue for the Scottish press, and newspapers going to the wall” (via Jon Slattery).
Add to that last year’s launch of Myjobscotland.co.uk, the jobs portal jointly owned by the country’s 32 local authorities, and you have quite a departure of revenue from a newspaper industry with more than enough problems to deal with already. Similarly, The UK Housing and Planning department is considering plans to scrap the rules forcing local councils, at their cost, to publish planning notices in the local press, which would mean the loss of £15 million a year across the industry (via PG). The Newspaper Society may vent its anger that by using “less effective information channels” for planning notices, the government would be “undermining the public