Tis the season – the political season, that is.
That means it’s also the time when we get lots of questions about our policies about candidates, political advertising, letters to the editor, and the like. So here’s an attempt to go over our general policies about elections and candidates.
We think running for political office and serving the community is an honorable thing, and we try to do our part in providing the information you need to make an informed decision about the candidates. We do that in several ways.
First, our newsroom writes a short story, with an accompanying picture, about each candidate who qualifies for office and provides us with the information needed to do a story. Each story starts on Page 1A and appears no later than the first issue of the Gazette after the qualifying deadline March 8.
We also run a list of candidates who will be on the ballot in almost every issue from now until the election. We never charge for announcement stories or for appearing in the candidate list. To do so would violate our ethical standards.
We also provide a short list of questions for each candidate to answer and we package all of the responses on several pages prior to the election.
We consider it part of our civic responsibility and provide the space free to candidates.
Naturally, candidates often want to make their own pitch in their own words to you. We call that political advertising and we do charge for it.
The advertising generally takes two forms: Shortly after the qualifying deadline, we will publish a political campaign kickoff section. We offer each candidate a one-time opportunity to purchase a one-quarter-page color ad at a greatly reduced rate in the section.
During the campaign, candidates also can buy as many or as few ads as they want in the Gazette and the Gazette Guide. We know we offer the only forum for candidates to reach every household in New Albany and we are careful not to play favorites. All candidates pay the same rates.
We require all political ads to include the name of the group paying for the ad, along with the president or treasurer of the group. We do not allow anonymous ads.
The Gazette also provides you an opportunity to voice your support for a candidate through a letter to the editor.
Letters, which are published without charge, should be positive in nature and not exceed 250 words. We do not run letters from candidates, form letters or anonymous letters.
We do not publish letters from employees or news correspondents of the Gazette. We expect them to show no partiality toward any candidate.
The Gazette does not endorse candidates in the “Our Opinion” space on the Commentary Page.
We do voice support for or against issues we think are of importance to the community.
We hope we have answered your questions about the political season. If not, be sure to let us know.
All of us at the Gazette take our role as your hometown newspaper seriously. We want to exceed your expectations.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.