Magazine article Editor & Publisher

News-Rack Laws Gain Steam

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

News-Rack Laws Gain Steam

Article excerpt

New ordinances regulating news racks are gaining momentum in two cities, while some newspaper publishers say they plan last-ditch attempts to appeal the rules.

The measures in San Francisco and Indianapolis would replace free- standing news racks with fixed modular boxes in an attempt to rid city streets of clutter. Some newspapers argue the rules would hurt circulation and trample on free-speech rights.

In San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors amended the city's rack regulation ordinance Aug. 16 in hopes of paving the way for its implementation. The city adopted the ordinance in June 1998, but a federal judge barred it from taking effect, saying it lacks safeguards and a review process for newspapers that are denied places in the racks.

The law would replace 12,000 existing individual racks with 1,000 modular ones, paid for by user fees and advertising.

Steven Falk, president of the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, the handler of business-side operations for the Examiner and Chronicle, says a group of publishers plan to appeal the ordinance, which the group says would give too much control to the city. …

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