Facilitating a fair and balanced campaign season

Published 9:52 am Thursday, April 28, 2016

Although the local election is still months away, campaign season went into full swing last week.

The file deadline for the primary offered voters in Berrien County a chance to see their options in all city, township and county seats. Cass County voters now know the candidates for the elections at the county level, but will have to wait until July 29 to learn who is vying for nonpartisan positions in village government and for boards of education.

As these individuals begin to knock on doors and place their yard signs, we have established a set of rules for how Leader Publications handles election season.

This policy is in place to ensure our publications remain as fair and balanced as possible, offering a level playing field for all candidates.

Each person running in the August primary was mailed a copy of this policy, which can also be found in full on our website at https:https://www.leaderpub.com//leader-publications-election-policy/

Our news team strives to be the key source of information for voters on all local elections. This means that we intend to provide key facts about each candidate in the form of announcement stories for contested elections. We will also be cognizant of our news coverage, ensuring all candidates in opposed elections will get the same amount of news coverage. Thus, we will not cover any private or party fundraisers. Campaign stops, public events and candidate forums will be evaluated on their news impact to the public. We’ve opted against running individual announcement stories, and will instead run race previews on all contested elections, whether in the newspaper or a special section later this summer.

We also encourage conversation among our readers and encourage everyone to weigh in by writing letters to the editor.

As outlined in our policy, candidates themselves are not permitted to write columns or letters, but their supporters are welcome to. We will, however, cut off all endorsement letters by July 12 for the primary, and Oct. 18 for the general election.

We do not run letters that attack other candidates or businesses, and submissions easily proven to be form letters will not be published.

If you’d like to write in to support a candidate, you may send your letters attention the newsroom to 217 N. Fourth St., in Niles, or email them to news@leaderpub.com. Letters must be sent on behalf of the writer, and must include full name, city of residence and phone number.

If you are a candidate and have not received a campaign policy, or if you have any questions regarding Leader Publications’ policy, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Ambrosia Neldon is the managing editor at Leader Publications. She can be reached by phone at (269) 687-7713, or by email at ambrosia.neldon@leaderpub.com.