How did you ever hope to appear unbiased when writing this article? This is an opinion piece, one with a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). You even miss the whole point of publishing legal notices, dissemination.
This isn’t surprising since newspapers don’t have nearly the penetration that the Internet does. In January 2010 Connected Tennessee published their annual Residential Technology Assessments. In it they found that 82% of adults in Tennessee use the Internet.
Now compare that with 28% of adults in Tennessee subscribing to newspapers. I made several gross assumptions in calculating that figure. I assumed that all 50 publications listed for Tennessee by mondonewspapers.com: 1) are newspapers, 2) their subscribers are Tennessee residents, and 3) they publish legal notices. Total weekday circulation would then total 1,323,569. Thus, assuming that subscribers were adults and Tennessee’s population hasn’t varied significantly from the 2009 US Census estimate I calculated a penetration rate of 28%.
This isn’t exactly fair to newspapers since they can be passed around and read many times. The Audit Bureau of Circulations even appears to take this into consideration, and if I’m quoting the right statistic correctly, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is read by 47.9% of possible readers. But that still leaves quite a few people without access to legal notices compared with the Internet.
But then you report for a paper. Why would you present an argument that is detrimental to your employer? Maybe you should re-read the third sentence of your paper’s Ethics Policy, “We must avoid the perception of conflicts of interest.” At the very least you should have begun the piece with a disclaimer stating the paper’s financial interest in continuing publications of legal notices, if not moved the entire piece to the editorial section.