No — The Vidette did not make any endorsements for the primary election.
We received more than one call and an email about a full-page ad that ran on the back of our A-section. And looking at it after the fact, I see where the confusion comes from.
If you look closely, you’ll see the candidates who paid for individual advertisements were highlighted on the sample ballot in the middle. That’s all.
We keep advertising and editorial separate. There are many employees within the newsgroup who seek out advertisers, work to create ads and ad packages, and then design and approve those ads. Then, there’s a completely separate group that goes out and seeks sources for news and interviews and writes and takes pictures for articles. Rarely do they co-mingle when it comes to the content that’s produced. And that’s a good thing. Advertising should not direct news coverage. And news coverage should not be concerned about coverage somehow affecting ad revenue.
In the case of the ad on the back page of the A-section, the right hand didn’t talk to the left. Designed, approved and placed by a separate department. Had the editorial group been consulted, it may have been able to say, “Wait, that looks like an endorsement.” But, in all honesty, it could have slipped by anyway for any number of reasons. It didn’t happen that way, so who knows.
In whatever way it may have occurred, it is my hope this moment will spark internal conversations to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.
But no — we didn’t endorse candidate A over candidate B. We didn’t endorse either party over the other.
When I make an endorsement, you’ll know. When I make an endorsement, it will be on the editorial page with my smiling face, just like the rest of my opinions. I will say my endorsement in the clearest terms I know, and I’ll list the reasons why.
Obviously, I’m not going to make an endorsement for a candidate in a primary election. I can’t think of a reason why I would (maybe there is some strange circumstance where a primary election endorsement will seem appropriate, but it’s beyond my imagination at the moment).
Chances are I won’t make an endorsement even in the upcoming general election. We have a two-person staff at The Vidette, and that would be quite the limited editorial board. And, personally, I need more time to understand the dynamics of this county before I’m endorsing candidates. So don’t expect my endorsement for any candidate as November approaches. But that doesn’t mean the newspaper group won’t make an endorsement, and if we carry that endorsement, it will be as obvious as my editorials.
So one last time: No — The Vidette did not make any endorsements for the primary election.