Many newspaper opinion pages have long included written commentary from an editorial board to provide a piece of informed commentary on important issues. And for most companies, that practice includes opinions on candidates running for elected office.
The Citizen continues to be part of that tradition, and this week we're running a series of election endorsement editorials on the opinion page.
The idea behind endorsement editorials is to offer readers opinions on races from the perspective of a small group of newspaper representatives who pay close to attention to the day-to-day news cycle. For us, that small group includes publisher Robert Forcey, managing editor Michael Dowd and myself. Together, we're The Citizen Editorial Board, and on a daily basis, we discuss what we plan to say under the "Our View" header of the opinion page.
For election endorsements, we attempt to hold in-person interviews with all of the candidates for local races. We have a few simple ground rules for these sessions. One is that we keep each of the meetings limited to a consistent amount of time so no one has the advantage of an extra-long session. Another is a requirement that only the candidate can be in the room with the editorial board, which allows us to filter out the tendency of some politicians to constantly turn to their campaign managers for guidance on answering questions.
Those interviews are a vital tool for the board, but so is the day-to-day news coverage of the campaigns themselves, as well as any materials the candidates want to provide. We also take time individually to watch candidate debates.
Armed with all of this information, the three board members get together and simply talk it out. Who do we favor and why? We listen to each other's arguments and decide if we want to change our minds. Ultimately, it comes down to a simple vote and the candidate who has the backing of at least two of us is the official choice.
Dowd and I then go to work writing up the endorsement editorials, incorporating our notes from the deliberations and going back over all of the campaign coverage. The three of us then review the drafts of the editorials, make any changes that might be needed and put them out there for our readers to consider.
One thing you'll notice about this process is that it does not involve our reporting staff. That's by design. The editorial board operates independently of the journalists who are reporting the news and writing the stories.
Judging from the website traffic we're seeing, I'm guessing many readers have noticed that we've recently launched a couple of new blogs at auburnpub.com in recent weeks.
For those of you who haven't seen them, I'd like to call your attention to Cayuga County Craft and Photographer's Journal.
Cayuga County Craft is a new blog devoted to coverage of this area's burgeoning craft beverage scene. Features editor David Wilcox decided to get this blog started after seeing so many exciting developments in this area over the past year or so. The blog will include updates on what different brewers are doing in terms of new releases, facility development and business strategy. It will also include contributions from brewers themselves under the "How We Made It" header in which they'll tell the stories behind specific products they've created.
You can check it out at auburnpub.com/blogs/craft.
Photographer's Journal is the online platform for our newest staff member, photojournalist Kevin Rivoli. Many of our readers are familiar with Kevin; he's been covering this region from behind the camera lens for almost three decades, including considerable time here at The Citizen. When an opening recently came up after Sarah Jean Condon departed for a position at the daily newspaper in Utica, Kevin decided this was a perfect time in his career to return to where it all began. He describes Photographer's Journal like this: "It will be photo essays and video documentaries celebrating ordinary people doing ordinary things. Stories that embrace the simple moments in our lives and our communities."
Check that out at auburnpub.com/blogs/photo_journal.