Newspaper’s election coverage guidelines focus on fairness

Published 7:59 am Saturday, February 17, 2018


The Advocate-Messenger

With the partisan filing deadline now passed and the primary election arriving soon, The Advocate-Messenger wanted to clearly communicate its policies in regards to letters to the editor, candidates’ submissions and political coverage.

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No candidate running for a contested office will be allowed to write guest columns or letters to the editor. This includes any incumbents who might be regular contributors to the newspaper.

Submissions from unopposed candidates will be reviewed on news value and relevancy to the public. Submissions that appear to be purely tied to an election or political issues will not be accepted.

Letters to the editor from supporters or endorsing a candidate must be received at least two weeks prior to the primary or general elections. We will cease publishing all letters at least one week prior to the election.

All letters will run on a first received, first published basis and as space allows.

Submissions must come from local citizens who have a home address in our coverage area. Submissions that appear to be form letters instead of the author’s own words will not be printed.

The Advocate-Messenger reserves the right to reject any letter that does not meet standard guidelines for submissions. The paper also reserves the right to edit all submissions for space and clarity.

All political advertising must be approved by publisher Michael Caldwell and may require substantiation of claims.

All ads that challenge or target an opponent will be cut off at least one week prior to the election, after a targeted candidate has the chance to respond if they so choose.

The Advocate-Messenger’s news coverage will follow standard procedures that serve readers and treat all candidates equally.

The newspaper will write specific race previews prior to the election that will include profiles on all candidates.

Campaign stops, community forums and public events involving incumbents or candidates will be evaluated for coverage based on their public impact and news relevancy.

The newspaper will not cover private or party fundraisers. Notifications of public events may run in our news briefs if submitted at least three days prior.

The Advocate-Messenger will provide news coverage of all election results.

Our intent is to provide comprehensive coverage of local races during the 2018 election season in a way that is fair to all candidates and valuable to our readers.