City law in San Francisco obliges local agencies to publish notices before holding public meetings. So when the San Francisco Examiner failed to run an ad announcing the upcoming meeting of the Board of Supervisors, the board had no choice but to reschedule. All of this showing, of course, that newspapers are the backbone of democracy.
On that front, it should be noted that local government advertising is an important source of revenue for small newspapers and a big reason for the rise of suburban chains like MediaNews. Legal ads, public notices, doing-business-as, etc. are the bread and butter of smaller newspapers.
Correction: An earlier post blamed the Brown Act for the public meetings requirement. The Brown Act does require agencies to provide public notice but does not require paid ads.