COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Hispanic Tips is questioning an Ohio agency's plans to launch a Web data base that is being designed to keep the state's Latino community connected. In other words, the state plans to enter the online news and information publishing business with a presence aimed at the rapidly growing Latino market. However, a national Community Information Management System already exists on Hispanic Tips, whose owner notes "I implemented CIMS in two days and it probably does the same thing on a national basis."
He appears to be wondering why the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs has budgeted $50,000 plus $5,000 a year in an annual upkeep for a Web site about community affairs that the private sector is already providing.
Columbus Business First reported on the state's project last week and noted it has been in the works for quite some time.
"The commission's OLAnet will be accessible beginning Nov. 1. Through the site, groups will have access to a database of Hispanic groups statewide, and they'll be able to post news and activities and manage a calendar of events . . .
"The commission is hoping the project, three years in the making, will get input of about 50 community organizations and Hispanic-owned businesses by the end of January, but the database itself can handle as much activity as groups can spark."
This does appear to have the flavor of a government agency encroaching into an area that has long been the province of the private sector, the compilation, editing, distribution and publishing of news and events. It may be something legislators and Gov. Ted Strickland may want to look into more deeply before a precedent is struck. Bottomline: Should Ohio even get into the news business?