Column: Coming next Sunday: AnnArbor.com candidate endorsements for Election 2012
AnnArbor.com is coming into the Nov. 6 election with a body of work that includes news stories, reports of candidate forums, an online voter guide and access to both print and online letters to the editor.
Our next step comes on Oct. 28 when we offer AnnArbor.com readers our guidance to the general election.
That’s when we plan to offer endorsements in several top-level races that will be on our readers’ ballots: President, U.S. Senate, 12th District of U.S. Congress, and 52nd District State House of Representatives.
We’ll also be offering recommendations in other races, including Ann Arbor mayor, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, and a selection of ballot issues.
This comes as we’re redefining AnnArbor.com’s editorial voice.
As AnnArbor.com launched publication in summer 2009, the decision was made to institutionalize the community’s voice on our editorial page. We set up an editorial board that met regularly and debated local issues before we presented a weekly opinion on the topic.
We’ve been grateful to the people who have served on the editorial board and valued their insight. Having those specific community connections was important to a new publication.
Both Executive Vice President Laurel Champion and I are committed to retaining a community voice on this page. However, we’re also ready to veer from the external editorial board format to a more traditional publication’s editorial board: We’ll be evaluating community issues internally as we offer our opinion as AnnArbor.com.
The reason is that, as we look around our newsroom, we believe we have a depth of connection here that allows us to evaluate issues and, when appropriate, weigh in with the AnnArbor.com opinion.
Laurel and I will lead this effort for the election season and beyond, and we’ll be pulling in other staff, including entertainment editor Bob Needham- a former editorial page editor at the Ann Arbor News. I’ll also continue to offer my own opinion via both columns the Rise & Fall opinion features.
We also hope to cultivate additional guest columnists who can add important voices to this page, and create new ways to involve key community leaders into shaping public opinion - and to give us feedback.
What you’ll see on next Sunday’s editorial page will be traditional newspaper-style endorsements: We’ll be conducting interviews with the candidates and offering our opinion on who deserves your vote.
We’ll also make recommendations in the other key races that we believe we have a way to distinguish one candidate (or ballot initiative decision) above the other due to our reporting of the issues.
Keeping an editorial voice at this publication is important, and we know that the election season is not the time to try something new.
But we also believe that returning to this traditional endorsement format will be valuable for readers. We also look forward to a coming year of creating an editorial page that reflects and influences public opinion.