As with most projects, the effort started out with the best intentions. A new political contender would agree to an interview with a reporter, we would run a short blurb about the candidate and our readers would learn about the people running for local offices.
Recently, however, the policy has devolved into a chore each newsroom employee dreads. Why? Because many candidates treat the news story as if it is a bonus thrown in with the purchase of an ad.
This year, several candidates simply wanted us to publish their own write-up word for word.
One gentlemen running for a county office even told us he wanted to wait until after the primary election to reveal his policy ideas — an idea noted in the story.
While the advertising staff of the Eagle is more than happy to work with a political candidate to craft his message to voters, that is not the job of our news reporters.
Our staff writers serve Eagle readers, not Eagle advertisers. And, if we are honest, the latest batch of candidate announcements fell short of that.
Starting with the next election, the Eagle will run ONE story for each office, which will include every candidate running for the seat.
Each contender will be asked two primary questions: “What are your ideas for the office?” And, “What are your qualifications for this position?”
Those who don’t want to fully participate in the interview will receive an apology and directions to the advertising department.
– Daily Mountain Eagle