“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” — Benjamin Franklin
In case you hadn’t noticed, the 2018 election season is well underway and as Election Day draws near, so does its impact on the community and this newspaper.
This is also the time of an election year the Fillmore County Journal announces its political policy. The policy is not designed to stifle public opinion, but rather to allow a fair opportunity for everyone to address the key issues of this campaign.
From now until November, our job is to help readers wade through the political process. Our goal is to find out what candidates are like and where they stand on key issues.
A list of questions will soon be sent to local candidates who are involved in races (with announced opposition). The candidates will have some time to carefully craft their answers and explain exactly how they would serve the public.
One thing our readers will not likely see in the October 29, 2018, or November 5, 2018, issues of the Fillmore County Journal is any type of political letter to the editor. Our long-standing policy not to publish letters the week before the election is there to protect the integrity of the election.
We’ve seen cases where newspapers have allowed letters in the final days before an election. What resulted, in some cases, were letters that raised false or misleading charges. The opposition had no opportunity to respond and those letters ultimately affected the elections.
As always, we appreciate letters to the editor. However, letters pertaining to an election can be a bit tricky. We ask that letter writers separate what they know from what they think they know. In short, please double-check your facts and abide by the following policy.
Letters to the Editor
The Fillmore County Journal will not publish letters to the editor that simply endorse candidates.
We consider such letters to be advertising. They should be handled as such.
Our newspaper will publish letters regarding issues to campaigns affecting the area. We will not publish letters from candidates if they only outline the candidates’ positions.
We will not allow letters from candidates or campaign managers, unless it’s in response to a news story or editorial specifically about them. They have ample ways to get their message out, including advertising.
All political letters must comply strictly with the Fillmore County Journal’s existing guidelines — a 300 word limit, typed (not handwritten), name and address included, and submitted prior to the Tuesday 5 p.m. deadline.
The Fillmore County Journal reserves the right to edit all letters for length, libel, clarity, accuracy, grammar, and punctuation. We will allow no name-calling, unsubstantiated allegations or personal attacks — period. We will not publish form letters, petitions, quotations, or anonymous letters.
Letters should be factually accurate and reflect original thoughts of a single writer. Readers and candidates are permitted one published letter every 30 days. Requests for specific print dates will not be honored.
E-mail submission is preferred at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send letters to Fillmore County Journal, P.O. Box 496, Preston, MN 55965, or fax them to 507-765-2468.
For verification, please include your full name, signature, full address, and daytime telephone number. Only the name and city of residence will be published.
The Fillmore County Journal will provide news coverage of the election over the next couple months leading up to the general election.
These policies are designed to be straightforward and to encourage an issue-oriented campaign.
If you have questions about this policy, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or call 507-765-2151.