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Do People Really Read Public Notices?

By Staff | Nov 15, 2012

We hear this question time and again and the answer is always: YES! People do really read public notices.

The Iowa Newspaper Association commissioned a study by the respected Newton Marketing and Research firm in September, 2012.

The results of the study are almost overwhelming. Iowans read public notices in newspapers and that’s where they want them to stay.

Public notices are better read in Iowa

than sports news.

Why are public notices important?

An important premise upon which the principle of democracy is based is that information about government activities must be accessible in order for people to make informed decisions.

Why should public notices be printed in newspapers?

That’s where they’ve been available to the public for 200 years. Newspapers are a respected third party – not like a government agency posting public notices on the agency’s own website.

Newspapers have the responsibility to print public notices in a timely, complete and accurate basis. Nobody has ever “hacked” a newspaper – unlike Internet sites where public notices have mysteriously disappeared.

How long do public notices last?

Unlike the Internet, newspapers provide a timeless repository of important documents and information. Public notices in newspapers don’t evaporate into cyberspace days after they are posted. Notices in newspapers are a permanent record.

86% of Iowans believe state and local government should be required to publish public notices in newspapers.


92% of Iowans find their local newspaper trustworthy when publishing public notices, compared with only 68% who find a government-sponsored website trustworthy.

Iowans want to read public notices in their newspaper. 85% of Iowans read their local newspaper.

Public notices printed in Iowa newspapers are also posted at www.iowanotices.org at no charge to government agencies.

Putting public notices on hundreds of government websites is the best way to make sure they will NOT be noticed by the public.

Iowans have spoken and the answer is YES.