Magazine article The Masthead

Endorse? of Course, or Not Necessarily

Magazine article The Masthead

Endorse? of Course, or Not Necessarily

Article excerpt

With the cacophony of other easily accessible opinion voices, editorial pages increasingly have come into the crosshairs of critics, who wonder who died and made us monarchs of opinion. The age-old practice of endorsing political candidates--or recommending them, in the parlance in some shops--especially provides a high-profile often controversial target for bloggers and even some journalists in our own newsrooms.

In this issue, we're talking about endorsements--why they matter and how to make them count even more.

Journalists tend to be generalists, and they also have the training in the craft and ethics to care about accuracy and fairness--something sometimes missing in the preaching-to-the-choir nature, whether conservative or liberal, of political blogs.

Picking up on public criticism of endorsements, journalism professor Paul Harris sought out NCEW to tell us to buck up. He writes endorsements are an important force in communities, still providing more value over other less traditional opinion forums. Immediate past president J.R. Labbe points out endorsements in high-profile races that bring our editors the most heat are, on balance, probably less important or influential than those they do about lower-profile races for school board or judges.

The Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota has taken the radical step of no longer endorsing political candidates. Editor Tom Dennis points out the Herald editorial board still interviews candidates. …

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