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Why and how we make our endorsements

Many smaller newspapers no longer endorse candidates in local, state or national elections. Certainly no TV or radio stations (no matter how slanted their news coverage) officially endorse candidates, local or otherwise, and neither do many news websites. So why bother to endorse, and what is the process for choosing endorsements at a small news organizations such as the one that publishes The Lakeville Journal, The Millerton News, The Winsted Journal and www.tricornernews.com?We endorse candidates only because we take government and its oversight seriously. Our reporters and editors spend a good portion of their time in meetings of area governing bodies, from selectmen’s meetings to board of education meetings to planning and zoning meetings, and more. This does give them some unique insight into the workings of these boards and commissions. All year they work hard to keep opinion out of news articles. So, at election time, it seems important to use the knowledge they’ve gleaned to make a statement on the opinion and viewpoint pages.The belief is not that what the newspaper says holds any more weight than the opinions of others in the community, but that after being at so many municipal gatherings and writing about them over the course of time, we should act responsibly and take a stand. While we don’t endorse in all races all the time, we do our best to make a case in support of some candidates each year.Rarely, especially on the local level, does one endorsement preclude the opposing candidate’s viability as a public servant in our minds. Indeed, knowing so much about the workings of government lets us see the difficulties and rewards of such service as few others do, and allows us to respect all the more anyone who takes the step of running for office at any level. It’s not easy to run, it’s not easy to lose, and it’s not even easy to win and take on the challenges of any elected position in this time of financial difficulties. Necessary across-the-board belt-tightening has resulted in heightened emotions in any town, board or commission discussion, often difficult to manage and to resolve.This newspaper’s process for endorsing is to have a meeting of the minds among editors, reporters and ownership, and to take under consideration knowledge of each candidate and elected position that any in those groups have. Then, the editorial is written by the person who regularly writes editorials (in this case, Janet Manko) and reviewed by the others before publication.Endorsements will run in the paper on Oct. 27, in order to give a week in between their publication and the election. On Nov. 3, letters rebutting the endorsements will be the only political letters printed.Remember to take one of the most important actions a citizen can and vote for the candidate of your choice on Nov. 8.

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