Political rules of the game

Every election year — and that’s pretty much every year — we try to come up with guidelines to help us treat candidates fairly. Sometimes, though, we find our guidelines put us in a box.
For instance, this year we said we would run our “announcement” stories on Page B2. These are pro forma stories we do when candidates send us a press release throwing their hats in the ring, most often to no surprise. However, if a surprising announcement is made, does it deserve better than B2? When we learned that former mayor Randy Tyree planned to run for sheriff, which no one saw coming, we decided it did, and we ran a story on B1 mentioning all of the candidates. But we also ran Tyree’s “announcement” today inside the B section, along with those of his opponents, incumbent Tim Hutchison and Larry Hunter.
Silly? Maybe. Today is the filing deadline, however, and we won’t be running any more announcement stories. Instead, we’ll wrap up all the candidates in a story tomorrow. We figure it’s too late to announce you candidacy after the deadline has come and gone and your candidacy has been noted in the paper.
Chances are we’ll get some heat. Fairness is often in the eyes of the beholder.

One thought on “Political rules of the game

  1. newswriter64

    In all “fairness” it probablly doesn’t matter in the big picture of the election. The problem I see with running the story about the candidate and the candidate’s announcement in the same issue is that you inadvertantly make it appear as though the paper supports this candidate. I’m sure it isn’t the case, but to the average reader it may appear that way.

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