Manassas Lawmakers Concerned About Absence of Printed Newspaper in the Area

Jurisdictions are mandated by law to print public notices in a "paper of record."

Lawmakers in Manassas and Prince William County continue to express concern over the coming lack of a printed newspaper in the area.

Manassas City Council members recently told their legislators they were concerned about meeting their legal requirement to put their public notices in a paper of record. The News & Messenger announced it was shuttering its doors at the end of this year after its parent company, World Media Enterprises, determined it wasn’t meeting revenue expectations.

Prince William County officials just found that the cost of printing such notices in the Washington Post have increased five fold, city council members said during a Dec. 12 joint meeting with the city school board, Sen. Charles J. Colgan and Del. Jackson Miller about the city and schools' legislative priorities for the Virginia General Assembly.

There is the Manassas Observer, but Miller said he's not sure if it will sufficiently meet the requirements.

A publication must have a court order to be listed as an authorized publisher, Manassas city attorney Mark Crim said during the meeting.

The Washington Examiner has this authorization, but Crim maintained that nobody reads it.

Many people are reading their news in the electronic format, Councilman Mark Wolfe said.

 “ … I’m the only one in my cul-de-sac that gets the Post,” Miller said, smiling.

Legislation to support a change in how public notices are published has died in the past, Miller said. He would be supportive of any new legislative that would change the requirements.

Northern Virginia Media Service, the owner of several newspapers in the area, has announced its intentions to open a new newspaper for Prince William County and Manassas.

No members of the city council or the school board mentioned the new publication as an option for publishing their public notices.

The company said it expects to began operations in the first of the year.


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