Following the CatlinSpeak-hosted Portland mayoral debate, staff members faced the difficult decision of whether or not to endorse a candidate. Doing what any good Americans would do, they held a democratic election. After much debate, the staff ultimately chose not to endorse one candidate.
In addition to covering various policies and important political events, most newspapers publish endorsements of political candidates written by their editorial staff. In the modern world, where people proactively assemble their own political and world views, these endorsements can help provide a more complete picture of the political environment and help readers reach decisions regarding their vote.
However, of late, a number of newspapers have taken the view that endorsing a particular political candidate is not something a newspaper should do. For instance, NPR’s Bob Garfield spoke with Kevin Riley, editor-in-chief of Georgia’s largest newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, about his paper’s decision to end editorial endorsements. Riley defined a paper’s duty to its readers as providing new information and communicating said information in a way that the audience wants to receive it.
Adam Klugman, a campaign strategist, media consultant, and friend of Jefferson Smith, visited the Road to the White House class on Tuesday, October 23. He said that an effective way to gain voters’ attention is to “listen, affirm and reflect”—listen to voters, affirm the fact that their voices matters, and reflect on what values they would want to be communicated in a message. Out of respect for our readers, the CatlinSpeak staff has chosen to write from three different potential voter perspectives: pro Hales, pro Smith and a third expressing dissatisfaction with both candidates.