Reporter editorial: Election season ground rules


It’s that time of year, so here are the Reporter’s ground rules for this election season.

Every year a couple of months or so before Election Day, we present our policy for political letters so our readers will know what we’re trying to accomplish here at the Reporter as we head toward November.

In recent weeks, some questions have been raised about a feeling by some that we are violating our own rules. Some have suggested we allow letter writers to publish their opinions without identifying them as advocates — or candidates — for one political party or another and we have made corrections on line and in our print edition. These were errors of omission by our editorial staff and was in no way meant to deceive our readers. We regret the errors.

Fairness in politics, it seems, is in the eye of the beholder, but we have and will continue to strive for fairness toward all candidates and parties, and we can establish some common guidelines and stick to them.

To sum up, here are the ground rules:

Individuals are limited to two letters per calendar month. We, of course, have the right to edit those letters for spelling, syntax and clarity.

Letters to the editor are not the proper place for self-promotion and résumé dropping. Check with our advertising department for that.

For OpEd Prose & Comments column submissions, please focus on a single topic or event and weigh in on that topic once. Your opponent may respond in a subsequent letter or guest column — with no additional back and forth afterward. That last part is the most important.

Of course, keep all your submissions civil. That’s not a prohibition against tough criticism — politics isn’t child’s play, after all — but it is a ban on personal attacks or rumor mongering.

If you belong to a political committee, or are working on behalf of someone’s campaign, identify yourself as such. Our readers deserve to know who is behind a certain campaign, and we can’t always know who’s who and what side they are working for.

No political letters or OpEd pieces will be published after the Oct. 24 edition.