Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

January 25, 2012

Election ground rules

Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Throughout the coming months there will be a series of job fairs across the country — with some people hoping to keep their jobs, while others want to take it away from them.

We're speaking, of course, about the coming elections, where every two, four or six years, a current lawmaker asks voters to hire them again. Still again, others are asking the same voters to give them the job.

At the same time, newspapers and other media are examining their own election coverage process.

At The Daily Progress, the editorial board has come up with these ground rules for the coverage of the primaries and general election.

• The newspaper will not endorse any candidate, feeling that an endorsement would put the paper in the role of wanting to sway voters — in essence, have the paper in the role of a participant rather than a source of information.

• Likewise, the Progress will not run candidate endorsements from groups or individuals on its editorial page. The paper will run letters on issues if they do not urge a vote for any candidate or party.

• Nor will we accept letters from candidates that urge a vote for any candidate or party. We may run letters from candidates that point to an issue, again if it does not encourage a particular vote.

While this might sound like a a lot of "will nots," there are quite a few things The Daily Progress will do.

• The Progress will run stories about the issues, giving an opportunity for fair comment from all the candidates in a particular race, instead of candidate profiles.

• While the list of candidates is almost firmly set, not all candidates have submitted the announcement of their candidacy. It remains free and open for those who choose to do so as long as it is within the 500 word limit.

• Will accept endorsement and political advertisements from the parties, candidates and their supporters.

• Will take stands on issues, but will do so within the same guidelines for  letters, which is to not support one candidate or party.

• Will talk to voters on their opinions about the issues, but with an eye to remain fair and balanced in our coverage.

• Will from time to time report on polls as to how the various campaigns are progressing.

We encourage everyone to listen to what the candidates say and the positions they take in the months and days prior to the elections.

After all, it’s the voters who determine who gets the job.