Wichita Legal Eagle: Town Moves Legal Notices From Newspaper To Its Own Website

A dismaying move to deprive a publisher of public notice revenue has succeeded in Wichita, Kansas. 

The “official newspaper” for legal notices is now the city website, the Wichita Eagle reports. 

State law requires that the city designates an official newspaper for publishing notices. McClatchy Company has been notified that the Eagle, the official paper since 2019, is losing that plum, reportedly worth $120,000 per year. 

The Wichita City Council approved the shift last week, although Council Member Becky Tuttle successfully introduced an amendment that legal notices be duplicated in a print publication serving the Wichita market. It was not clear at deadline how that will affect the revenue picture. 

However, moving legal notices on city and state websites is a growing trend around the country, resulting in considerable harm to local media. Meanwhile, the designation of the Wichita website as the official “newspaper” has drawn some tart comment from interested observers. 



“I’ve got to hand it to the city of Wichita,” writes Eagle columnist Dion Lefler. “It takes some kind of nerve to try to argue that your computer system is secure enough to be the only repository for public legal notices while you’re still struggling with a ransomware hack that crashed your website, your online billing system and even the board at the airport telling you which gate your flight is leaving from.”

In a separate column, Lefler addressed another concern. 

“Throughout this time, I have been crystal clear that I don’t care whether the city publishes legal notices in The Eagle or not, but in the interest of transparency and security they should have to be published somewhere other than city-controlled media.” 


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