Every election season, we are sure to be asked why we run endorsement editorials and what it means to endorse a candidate. As often as we can, we try to point out that endorsements do not impact our reporting — at all.
A shocking number of people believe that once a newspaper endorses someone, everyone on the staff, reporters included, is actively working to get that person elected and slanting news coverage to that end. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Almanac clearly marks opinion pieces to make clear that they are distinct from the news reporting side of our organization and do not impact the fair and dispassionate reporting of the news.
We also hear from readers who really dislike endorsements and ask us to stop making them. From our perspective, choosing candidates to endorse is a way to give a not-so-well-informed voter the benefit of the news organization's insights gained from closely following local politics, day in and day out. Not everyone has time to pay such close attention, regularly attend meetings and interact directly with local politicians, but that's our job and we feel it's our duty to share what we've learned.
We're not forecasting who the winners will be or selecting people who match our personal politics; we're making a judgment call on the candidate who seems most capable of doing the job well and meeting the moment — taking the council or the district board in the direction it ought to be going while faithfully representing the needs and wishes of the entire community.
For anyone who feels well-informed, closely follows local politics or already has their mind made up, feel free to ignore the endorsements that we're publishing this month. No one on the staff is broken-hearted if the person who was endorsed doesn't win, and we have no trouble fairly and impartially covering all the candidates, regardless of whether they gained our endorsement. When you get right down to it, the only side we're on is that of our readers.