And now for the newspaper’s

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2000

election groundrules

In Troy and Pike County, the political season is hotly underway, with candidates making requests of the newspaper and wanting to know our policies regarding election coverage. This column is written for the candidates for city and county office, but I hope it benefits the voters in the community so all can gain a better understanding of how our political season will work at The Messenger.

On nearly a daily basis, we receive calls and visits from candidates (or their supporters) who want to know why they can’t have a certain story printed. Others have asked why one story ran in one place while another story ran in another place.

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The Messenger will try to be as fair as possible. We won’t please everyone, but we’ll do our best. With that said, the following are some guidelines for our political coverage this year:


Every candidate for every office (both city and county) will receive a front-page article announcing his or her campaign. That article can be submitted by the candidate (which we reserve the right to edit), or the candidate can make an appointment with a Messenger news staff member. The front-page story will contain a photograph of the candidate. However, if the candidate chooses to submit an announcement article and that candidate does not supply us with a color photo, a photo will not run with the article. If you do not have a color photo, we will take one if you make that request.

Finally, the position of the announcement story on the front page is not promised. The article will appear on the page as dictated by other news of the day. We will not make promises to candidates about which day their articles run. We also ask that candidates type all submitted announcements to prevent confusion.


The Messenger will not cover political rallies or political "kick-off" events. We will cover debates where most of the candidates are present. If debates are held to promote a small portion of the candidates, we will not cover them.

One of the questions we deal with is that of "unfair" coverage, which usually stems from public officials who appear in the paper more than others.

In politics, there’s a home-field advantage for incumbents. That’s part of the game, and that’s how it must be played. We will do our best to keep our coverage fair, but we will not promise that one candidate will appear in the paper as many times as the other candidate. Along the same lines, incumbents will not be allowed to use their positions for an editorial advantage. The Messenger reserves the right to make editorial decisions on events which incumbents are involved in. If we deem those events newsworthy we will report those events.

Opinions & Letters

The Messenger will not accept support "Letters to the Editor" for any one candidate. We will not publish inflammatory or libelous letters against any candidate. We also will not publish accusatory letters unless there is proof of the accusation. No accusatory letters will be published after Sunday, July 30, for city elections and Sunday, Oct. 29, for general elections.

As always, there will be other circumstances to arise during the campaign season, and we promise to do our best in regards to fairness. If unforeseen situations arise, we reserve the right to make the editorial decision.

In the meantime, please remember that candidates who wish to make their announcement public must come to us to get the story out to the public.

The deadline for getting announcements in the newspaper before the June 6 primary is May 19. Candidates should notify the newspaper and set up an interview by 5 p.m. May 19 in order to ensure that their announcements will be printed before the primary.

Brian Blackley is the managing editor of The Messenger. He may be reached via e-mail at or by calling 670-6314.

April 11, 2000 11 PM  

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