The Creswell Chronicle -

By Erin Tierney
The Creswell Chronicle 

Chronicle changes political endorsement letter policy

 

August 23, 2018



Political campaigns have used newspaper opinion pages as a freebie advertisement space for years.

It’s more common than ever for letter-writing campaigns to submit pieces, expecting to be published on the editorial page. These letter-writers are oftentime paid ghostwriters, with content that derives from talking points provided by campaigns.

We find that approach to be disingenuous and difficult to discern by readers. We say, call it for what it is: if it’s an opinion, it’s labeled as an opinion. If it’s an ad, treat it as such.

I read somewhere by another newspaper editor that you wouldn’t ask a billboard company to provide free space for your 300-word endorsement, or call up the local radio station and ask for a block of free air time.

It does makes sense, doesn’t it?

Most newspapers across the nation have been pumping the brakes on these outdated practices and revamping their editorial policies to better address the issue. As such, as the Nov. 6 election nears, The Creswell Chronicle will not publish content intended as free political advertisements on the editorial page.

Letters to the editor are personal views on matters of current public debate, written in 350 words of less. Election-related letters may still be submitted, but must address pertinent, timely issues of interest and explain reasons to support candidates based on personal experience and perspective.

In other words, The Chronicle does not publish partisan letters written in a campaign-style rhetoric that promotes or endorses local political candidates based solely on their record, reputation and qualifications. This constitutes paid political advertising.

If you would like to publish a political endorsement letter, the cost is $20 for 350 words. This endorsement will be boxed and labeled as such on the editorial page.

When a person announces his or her candidacy, The Creswell Chronicle will publish one Viewpoint column submitted by the candidate, up to 800 words, free of charge. Candidates should include a headshot photo, contact information and list their credentials.

Any additional campaign columns submitted thereafter by the candidates will be subject to advertising rates.

It must be noted that candidates themselves may not use the letters to the editor column to outline their platforms or to ask for votes, as this, too, constitutes paid political advertising. As with all letters and advertising content, the newspaper, at the sole discretion of management, reserves the right to reject any such letter.

Editors reserve the right to hold letters that use offensive language, attack the personal character of a candidate or are deemed offensive at the editor’s discretion.

All letters are subject to editing for clarity and length.

All letters must be signed in full and include the address and telephone number of the writer for verification purposes. If a letter cannot be verified, it will not be published.

All election editorial content must be submitted no later than noon on the Monday prior to publication.

Endorsement letters will not be accepted after Monday, Oct. 22 to provide a fair chance for candidate rebuttal.

To submit pieces or for more information, please email Erin at etierney.creswellchronicle@gmail.com or call the office at 541-895-2197.

 
 

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