Ever since we’ve been doing our newsblog, we’ve written about the incestuous relationship between local governments and newspapers via an antiquated payoff scheme called “legal advertising.” It is little more than a method whereby politicians can buy – with taxpayer dollars – sympathetic news coverage from newspapers who know how to play the game.
Today, we have an example of what happens when a catfight breaks out over the money, and the predominant newspaper loses the business to another competitor.
The Caddo Parish Commission voted to award their legal advertising to the Caddo Citizen and The Shreveport Sun. The folks at The (Shreveport) Times – Northwest Louisiana’s tentacle of the Gannett octopus – are not happy.
The Caddo Commission has decided to award its legal advertising for fiscal year 2012-13 to the Caddo Citizen, located in Vivian, and The Shreveport Sun. On the surface, the action was a near repeat of what happened last year; however, there is one key difference. This time, the commission decided 7-5 to pay more for this legally required service to reach fewer parish residents.
While the commission certainly is allowed this choice by law, it doesn’t seem like the action reflects sensible fiduciary management of taxpayer funds. Pay more for less? The equation doesn’t work logically from any angle. And it raises the question, rightfully so, of what other purposes are being served here?
If the decision concerns you, contact your commissioner and let them know your take on the equation. Contact information for commissioners: