common / Misc

Letters to the Editor Policy

DAILY NEWSPAPER GUIDELINES FOR POLITICAL NEWS COVERAGE, LETTERS
and POLITICAL ADVERTISING, NEWS and EDITORIAL COVERAGE

1. The newspaper does not endorse candidates for local, state or national office.

2. As a general rule, the newspaper does not cover fund-raising dinners or promotional gatherings limited to particular candidates or political parties.

3. When a person announces his or her candidacy, the newspaper will run a news story. Such announcements must be received no later than one (1) month after the filing date for a particular office.

4. The newspaper will publish news stories about write-in campaigns. Since decisions to run write-in campaigns sometimes are made shortly before an election, there is no deadline set on receiving such announcements.

5. Election-related news coverage beyond or in exception to the above will be at the sole discretion of the newspaper’s publisher and editor in the name of newsworthiness, reader interest and information.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

1. Election-related letters MUST address pertinent or timely issues of interest to our readers at-large.

2. The newspaper does not publish partisan letters that promote or endorse local political candidates based solely on their record, reputation and qualifications. This constitutes paid political advertising.

3. Candidates themselves may not use the letters to the editor column to outline their views and platforms or to ask for votes. This constitutes paid political advertising.

4. The newspaper is particularly sensitive to organized “letter-writing campaigns” believed to be part of a contrived attempt by a political camp to use the editorial page for campaigning purposes, or to otherwise attempt to manipulate our policies for a political advantage. As with all letters and advertising content, the newspaper, at the sole discretion of management, reserves the right to reject any such letter.

5. The newspaper is likely to reject singular letters to the editor that are “signed” or submitted under the names of multiple authors. We will not publish such letters without information provided that allows us to promptly verify that each signatory is aware of and has agreed to the contents of the letter.

6. The newspaper strongly encourages writers to limit election-related letters to 300 words.

7. To help insure fairness, all letters to the editor of a political nature must be received at the newspaper office at least 10 days before the election. (Two Saturdays prior to Election Day.)

8. The exception to the 10-day rule is a response to a previous letter of an attacking or derogatory nature. In the name of fairness, the newspaper will accept such a response

after the deadline, provided it is written and delivered promptly (See No. 9). Such responses may rebut charges, innuendos or misstatements of fact from the initial letter but may not present new charges or level inflammatory counterattacks on the opposing political camp.

9. Under no circumstances will any election-related letter be published after the Friday immediately prior to Election Day.

10. In the case of questionable content (e.g. unfounded allegations, statements of fact that are suspect, or assaults on a candidate’s character or moral standards), the newspaper reserves the right to verify such information before publication, or to edit letters. Any changes necessary to render a letter suitable for publication will be reviewed with the writer prior to publication whenever possible.

11. All letters must be signed and include the address and telephone number of the writer. Phone numbers are for questions and verification purposes only and will not be published.

POLITICAL ADVERTISING

1. All political advertising is charged at the prevailing open rate. (No discounts, special pricing or earned rates.)

2. All political advertising must be paid for in advance. No exceptions.

3. All political advertising must carry a line reading “Authorized By....” or “Paid For By….” If authorized by the candidate, his authorized political committee or their agents, the ad must clearly state such. If not authorized, the ad must clearly and specifically state the name of the person, committee or organization who placed or financed the ad. (Personal identification may be requested.) In the case of citizens’ groups, committees and unofficial organizations, these must be established, registered and/or reasonably identifiable to the newspaper’s readers. If not, the name of the treasurer or another officer may be required.

4. The phrase “PAID POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT” by itself is insufficient.

5. No political ads may be placed on special discounted pages or as part of any standing advertising features or categories within the newspaper that carry discounted or flat rates or restrictions on advertising. (e.g. page 1, main sports, directories, editorial page, comics page, etc.)

6. There is no guaranteed position or placement offered for political ads. All political ads will be placed ROP – Run of Press – in our normal course of laying out the newspaper.

7. No political ads of a derogatory or attacking nature will be published after Wednesday’s edition, 6 days prior to Election Day. (NOTE: Production deadlines require that all ads be placed with our sales department at least two, and sometimes three working days prior to publication.) In the name of fairness and our responsibility to the local voting public, responses to derogatory ads will be allowed after the Wednesday cutoff, but such ads must be placed immediately to insure placement prior to Election Day. Responses may rebut charges, innuendos or misstatements of fact from the initial derogatory ad, but may not present new charges or level inflammatory counterattacks on the opposing political camp.

8. In the case of questionable content (e.g. unfounded allegations, statements of fact that are suspect, or assaults on a candidate’s character or moral standards), the newspaper reserves the right to verify such information before publication, or to reject the material.

Return to top