The government was defeated over plans to remove the legal requirement for councils to advertise public information notices in newspapers during decision time on 28 January 2010.
MSPs voted against Enterprise Minister Jim Mather's amendment referring to the ongoing consultation on the plans.
The Scottish Conservative MSP Ted Brocklebank's amendment highlighting a lack of sufficient dialogue between the government and the newspaper industry was passed.
Scottish Labour MSP Pauline McNeil saw her amended motion expressing concern at the proposal to advertise public notices on the internet passed.
Ms McNeill led the debate and told MSPs that the move would disenfranchise hundreds of people who did not have access to the internet.
Enterprise Minister Jim Mather stressed no final decision had been made, explaining the proposals were a result of a request from local authorities.
He told MSPs he intended to hold a summit with local newspapers.
The move of public notices from newspapers to online could save councils £6m a year, but publishers said the loss of the money could be devastating.
Newspapers have already been hit hard by the recession and decisions by some advertisers to concentrate online.