Public notices are advertisements that state and local laws require be placed in newspapers by the government so that YOU know what's going on in your community and have a chance to participate in a decision before it affects you and your rights. They're published in newspapers (which also run them online and in mobile and e-formats for no extra charge to the government or taxpayers) to ensure the widest audience possible and provide non-governmental accountability to prove all legal requirements are met.
You have a right to know what could happen in your neighborhood before it happens. For decades, North Carolinians have relied on the newspapers in their communities to be the place to go for notices of public hearings and planned changes by their local governments.
Opponents of your right to know keep introducing legislation in the North Carolina General Assembly aimed at taking notices out of the public eye in newspapers and hiding them on obscure websites run by governmental bodies or agencies -- places you may never even go on the Internet. More importantly, it would eliminate a critical check and balance on the government. The same people mandated by law to run such ads would be in charge of posting ads and making sure they comply with the law. In other words, the fox would be guarding the hen house.