Our View: Election coverage guidelines focus on fairness

Published 9:59 am Thursday, January 25, 2018

With the filing deadline less than a week away, The Sun wanted to clearly communicate its policies in regards to letters to the editor, candidates’ submissions and political coverage.

Political announcements about filing for office can be submitted by any candidate.

  • The Sun will publish one free filing announcement for each candidate per campaign season.
  • These submissions must be provided to the newspaper within two weeks after the filing deadline for a particular election.
  • Announcements will be published on Page 2, Monday to Friday within two weeks of submission.
  • Submissions must be 300 words or less. A small photo is optional. These can be emailed to news@winchestersun.com or dropped off at our office at 20 Wall St. E-mailed photos should be in JPG format at least 200 resolution.
  • The Sun reserves the right to edit all submissions for space and clarity.

No candidate running for office will be allowed to write guest columns or letters to the editor after they have formally filed or publicly declared candidacy.

  • This includes incumbents who are regular contributors to the newspaper.
  • Submissions from unopposed candidates will be reviewed on news value and relevancy to the public. Submissions that appear to be purely tied to an election or political issues will not be accepted.

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Letters to the editor from supporters or endorsing a candidate must be received at least three weeks prior to a primary or general election and we will cease publishing all letters at least one week prior to the election.

  • All will run on a first received, first published basis and as space allows.
  • Submissions must come from local citizens who have a home address in our county. Submissions that appear to be form letters instead of the author’s own words will not be printed.
  • The Winchester Sun reserves the right to reject any letter that does not meet standard guidelines for submissions.
  • The Sun reserves the right to edit all submissions for space and clarity.

All political advertising must be approved by publisher Michael Caldwell and may require substantiation of claims.

  • All ads that challenge or target an opponent will be cut off at least one week prior to the election after a targeted candidate has the chance to respond if they so choose.

The Winchester Sun’s news coverage will follow standard procedures that serve readers and treat all candidates equally.

  • The newspaper will publish overview stories listing who has filed and also write specific race previews prior to the election that will include profiles on all candidates.
  • Campaign stops, community forums and public events involving incumbents or candidates will be evaluated on their public impact and news relevancy.
  • The newspaper will not cover private or party fundraisers. Notifications of public events will run in the community calendar if submitted at least three days prior.
  • The Sun will provide news coverage of all election results.

Our intent is to provide comprehensive coverage of local races during the 2018 election season in a way that is fair to all candidates and valuable to our readers.