2016-06-30 / Opinion


Why We Don’t Endorse Political Hopefuls

Whatever your political point of view, Election 2016 formally began locally this week with the three-day filing period ending Wednesday, June 29, when hopeful officeholders throw their hats into the ring by formally declaring their candidacies.

As a weekly publication, Newport This Week will do its very best to bring readers timely coverage of local political races as they unfold.

We will continue this year to adhere to our policy of not endorsing candidates for political office. It is our strongly held opinion that our readers are capable of making up their own minds about who should or should not earn the privilege of their vote.

We are confident in our belief that our job is not to sway a local political race one way or the other, but to inform readers with impartial reporting that is presented in a fair and easily understood way. After all, when you think about it, endorsements could be thought of as “rejections” by non-endorsed political hopefuls.

We take this stance knowing that many of our regional newspaper peers publish endorsements of local candidates for public office. But many do not. This was apparent at a recent meeting of the New England Press Association in Boston.

Another Rhode Island paper that does not publish candidate endorsements is The Narragansett Times, which has not endorsed since 2006. Managing Editor Matt Wunsch has said that his publication encourages readers to engage with the newspaper and fill editorial pages with letters to the editor.

We echo those thoughts.

We will publish candidates’ position statements concerning pertinent issues that are discussed and debated in the course of the campaign. Statements published in our print edition may be edited due to space constraints.

And wordier candidates may be cheered to know that for the first time in 2016, Newport This Week will publish full candidate statements on the paper’s website. As always, our editors reserve the right to ensure that submissions are consistent with guidelines for taste, accuracy, fairness, and public interest. We will ensure that the same standards apply to readers’ online comments. We believe that candidates and readers alike will appreciate this addition to our campaign coverage.

Of course, we will cover the upcoming campaign with the same diligence and determination that we employ in covering other aspects of local news.

In so doing, we believe that offering fair and impartial coverage of our local political races is the best way we can contribute to our readers’ understanding of the issues and the views of our City Council, School Committee, and legislative candidates.

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