Thursday, November 02, 2006

Do endorsements matter? Yes & No -- Part III

Four very good articles related to this topic appear in the fall 2006 issue of "The Grassroots Editor," the quarterly journal of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.

Here are a few of the highlights.

In the article entitled, "A contrary view of endorsing candidates," Dan Hammes, publisher of the St. Maries Gazette Record in Idaho writes:

In brief, I believe that a community served by only one newspaper is not well-served when that newspaper endorses one candidate over another. Assuming, of course, the newspaper’s editorial page is any good.
Those of us who write opinion pieces on a regular basis build credibility with our readers. That credibility, built over years of what we hope is reasoned, well-crafted opinion writing, serves to influence readers. If it doesn’t, we should find another line of work.
I think there is a more important role newspapers must serve.

In the article, "Many voters need a bit of help," John Bill Meyer, president of Hoch Publishing Co., Inc. in Marion, Kansas, writes:

Newspaper editors are in a better position to evaluate candidates than the average person who bases opinion on television commercials or coffee shop rumors.
Most editors are trained in political science, study sociology and logic. They also have experience.

In the article entitled, "Newspapers have a moral obligation to recommend political candidates," Jim Painter, a member of the ISWNE board of directors and managing editor of the West Valley View in Litchfield Park, Ariz., writes:

Newspaper reporters and editors, because they frequently come in contact with elected officials and political candidates, are often in a better position to judge the character, the knowledge and the experience of the candidates than the average citizen. That’s why we’re in a position — and have a moral obligation — to make recommendations for voters who haven’t yet decided who to vote for.

And finally, in the article, "Endorsements help promote meaningful community dialogue," Lori Evans, editor and publisher of the Homer (Alaska) News, writes:

Bottom line? Endorsements and other editorials are important because they constantly remind our readers that we all have the ability and responsibility to express our opinions and those opinions can help shape a community for the good.

What do you think?


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