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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Update: City Money Going To Media Outlets That Print Public Notices Isn't Chump Change After All

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 4:10 PM

click to enlarge There's gold in them thar public notices...
  • There's gold in them thar public notices...

A previous post about a resolution under consideration Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors to hand out public notice money to news Web sites closely allied with the board's progressive wing wrongly conveyed the idea that we're talking about chump change. We've since checked the numbers with the controller -- and for Web sites such as and, the $50,000 or so annually that a city-designated "outreach advertising" publication can pull in would represent a huge sum.

Photojournalist Luke Thomas', along with left-wing political Web sites and (the San Francisco Bay Guardian's Web site), has been nominated as a recipient of city public notice dollars under a new rubric called Internet Outreach. The idea, proposed by Supervisor John Avalos, is that some San Franciscans don't read newspapers, and would be better served with notices running in Internet-only publications.

Avalos and David Chiu -- who proposed making, and SFBG the city's Internet outreach advertising publications -- did not respond to phone messages inquiring about the new policy.

Our previous post noted that the three publications were odd choices for Internet outreach in a  town hosting popular Web sites such as Twitter, Digg, and Technorati -- unless one considers the fact these are news opinion sites that have strongly backed the supervisors who proposed giving them money.

And, again, it turns out the money isn't negligible. During the 2008-09 budget cycle, the newspaper El Mensajero, -- which is listed in Wednesday's proposed resolution as an "outreach advertising" publication -- recieved $50,900 in special advertising from city departments. That number doesn't include El Mensajero's portion of the $335,914 the city spent via its broker of public notice advertising, Daily Journal Corporation.

We're still workiing with the city's controller and Office of Contract Administration to get that number.

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Matt Smith


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