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POSTED: December 22, 2007 5:02 a.m.
Free searchable database available at www.GeorgiaPublicNotice.com

A longtime goal of the Georgia Press Association was met this month when the last of Georgia’s 159 counties began to have its public notices published online at www.GeorgiaPublicNotice.com.
The Web site now offers 100 percent coverage of public notices from across Georgia. Anyone with Internet access can find a public notice from any Georgia county online at the site.
Given that local public notices are also published in the legal organ newspaper for each county in the state, the Georgia newspaper industry can boast of providing the widest possible access to public notices of any state in the nation.
“This is a great milestone to get accomplished for all of the newspapers in Georgia, and more importantly, for the citizens of Georgia,” said GPA President Judy Fleming, general manager of the Early County News of Blakely.
“That is a goal we set for the association, and it included a number of nonmember papers to achieve. This initiative really shows the commitment of the GPA to continued growth of all media in the state,” said GPA Past President Burgett Mooney, publisher of the Rome News-Tribune. A key goal of Mooney’s term, which ended in June, was to get all of Georgia’s public notices online. The Web site is a database of public notices - everything from adoptions to public hearings to probate and election notices and foreclosures and seizures - searchable by county, by map, by category or by keyword. It is free to all users. The GPA and the state’s newspaper industry started the Web site more than four years ago as a way to increase access to the notices and to fend off potential legislative efforts to use third-party companies or government Web sites for publication of notices.
Other states have seen such efforts, which would reduce overall access to the public. Several companies nationwide have begun to mount legislative lobbying and public relations campaigns to win the right to publish public notices.
“A lot of people and newspapers didn’t realize that public notices could be taken from newspapers,” Fleming said of the push to get notices from the legal organs of the final counties online. “Once they grasped that public access could be lost, we went forward from there.”
“All newspaper owners and publishers in the state of Georgia are committed to the protection of the most trusted brand in each community, the local newspaper,” he said. “Newspapers will continue to be the trusted brand, built over 100-plus years in the state, carrying the information all Georgians need to conduct official business. All newspapers understand the critical part they play as the Fourth Estate, and are fully prepared to implement the use of new technology to continue the vital role they have as stewards.”
 

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