Local election season coming about

Published 2:52 pm Friday, December 16, 2011

Driving around town several things become obvious.

One is that election season is upon us.

I like to use this space on a rare occasion to explain how the newspaper business works, and I’d like to do so here if you’ll indulge me.

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Every newspaper has policies for just about anything it publishes. With the election coming up, I’d like to take this opportunity to explain our policy on local elections.

Beginning with this edition of the Demopolis Times, the newspaper will publish candidate announcement stories for any candidate that requests such.

We have a list of five questions that each candidate can answer with regard to their quest for office. The questions are the same to ensure everyone has a fair shot at the same target.

We also limit word count to approximately 450. We will allow a little wiggle room to wind up a quote or thought, but not much. Announcements should be concise as to “who, what, when, where and why.”

Each announcement publishes once on an inside page as soon as we can possibly get the item into the newspaper. We try to publish all stories on the same page, but sometimes space dictates that cannot happen.

If John Smith’s story is on page 2 and Jimmy Jones’ story is on page 3, that is not our subliminal endorsement of Smith. It’s simply the way it worked out. Too, we work to not publish two announcements for the same office on the same page. Again, that’s dictated by space but is a courtesy we try to extend to the candidates if possible.

Each announcement story runs once with a “mugshot” photo of the person seeking election.

The cutoff for publication is 30 days before the primary election. The Alabama primary election this year is March 13, 2012.

That means all announcement stories must have appeared in the newspaper before mid-February.

This is done to be fair to all the candidates. Anything turned in after the deadline will not be published in story-form.

If you or a loved one is seeking office and you’d like to have an announcement in the newspaper, please contact our office and we’ll set up a time to sit down with you to write your story.

I suggest you do it sooner rather than later. As you get more fully entrenched in “beating the bushes”, I would hate to see a candidate forget to publish their announcement before the deadline and miss an opportunity to reach potential voters.

Our policy is designed to be fair to all concerned, including the candidates and the newspaper.

Best of luck to all the candidates and we look forward to working with you during and after your campaign.


Jason Cannon is publisher of the Demopolis Times