Outlining the newspaper’s election year coverage

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 12, 2006

Occasionally I like to use this space to better explain how your newspaper works.

As we enter the political season, I wanted to explicate your newspaper’s policies and procedures as it relates to our political coverage.

Our mission begins with an effort to provide our readers with information and commentary concerning the local political scene and its important issues.

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This will be done through reporting newsworthy stories on the candidates and, at times, providing a forum for the candidates.

We will couple that work with editorializing, as well as analyzing the political maneuvers during a race.

In this political year and those to come, you will notice a fresh and different approach in how The Times-Journal deals with election coverage. This year, The Selma Times-Journal will endorse candidates.

The endorsements, though, will come only after extensive coverage of each race, its candidates and the issues surrounding the position sought after.

The editorial board of the newspaper will interview each candidate prior to announcing the newspaper’s endorsement.

This is exciting for us, and we hope that you, our readers will embrace this change.

In addition to our goal of endorsements, we have outlined a plan for how we will deal with political coverage.

We will publish initial political announcements, which will be fair for every candidate. To keep the coverage balanced, announcements will run on the inside of the newspaper, on Sunday’s, rather than the front page as in years past.

Each candidate will have eight to 10 inches of space in which to outline their experience, as well as their goals for the office if elected. We will also run a photo of the candidate if they so desire.

It is important for candidates to know this one-time article will be the only one ran in the newspaper announcing a candidacy.

Subsequent press conferences announcing a candidacy will not be considered newsworthy if the candidate’s announcement has already been published.

We will not cover BBQ fund-raisers and events featuring individual candidates.

Other coverage deemed newsworthy by the editorial staff may include debates or forums in which all candidates are invited, as well as stories written by our news staff such as articles on financial disclosures.

As we draw closer to the election, we will also run biography stories where we interview candidates and ask the same questions of each candidate in a particular race.

It is important to our staff to make certain that our readers are well-informed on each of the candidate’s qualifications prior to the elections.

Politics often make for interesting reading, but more importantly they make us think about the issues our community faces.

We hope that The Times-Journal will assist you with your decision-making process.

Jesse Lindsey is publisher of The Selma Times-Journal.