Two of Boise’s newspapers are fighting, and while it is entirely possible that neither will report the battle, this is really what local news is all about and readers may take interest in something otherwise not that interesting.
So here it is: The Idaho Statesman is suing the Idaho Business Review in 4th District court over the placement of legal notices.
Legal notices, because they are rarely bloody, are of minimal interest to most readers but are an adequate form of advertising, and, according to a report on KTVB news, the Statesman’s suit alleges the IBR is illegally running so-called “public notice advertising” that’s violating Idaho law.
Idaho State Code asserts that legal notices must be appear in the publication with “the largest paid circulation among all newspapers” published in a given area. That would mean the notices should appear in the Statesman, circulation of more than 60,000 a day, rather than the IBR, which has a paid circulation of 3,312 papers weekly.
The situation gets touchy because the Statesman and the IBR disagree on whether or not the provision applies to notices by non-governmental organizations. IBR publisher Rick Carpenter told KTVB that his legal counsel advises that the law applies only to governmental notices, not to notices by private parties, which they have been accepting.
So now the Statesman (along with the Idaho Allied Dailies newspaper association) says it is trying to protect the public interest because the IBR is misinterpreting the laws.
Ooh, them’s fighting words.
According to Carpenter, the Statesman contacted the advertisers and said legal notice advertising in a paper other than the Statesman is illegal in Ada County. Now IBR’s ad revenue is plummeting.
The truth lies in the law, right? So now that this battle is rolling, it is just a waiting game while the lawyers duke out the semantics. The craziest part, however, is that Boise news buffs are all of a sudden taking an interest in legal notices.