May 24, 2013
Written by Jack Sanders
Sunday, 11 September 2011 23:00
So that we can publish as many statements and letters as possible, The Press has rules and guidelines for candidates, parties and supporters for the Nov. 8 election. They are similar to those of past campaigns.
Letters to the editors: Letters promoting candidates — including from candidates themselves — must be 100 words or fewer. Longer letters will be rejected; shorter letters will get preference. A person may write up to two letters on candidates. We will not publish more than one letter from the same person in a single issue (i.e., don’t send in two letters the week before the election). Letters on general election issues may be as long as the usual letters limit (300 words), but may not be cloaked endorsements (that is, a writer cannot analyze an issue for 250 words and then say, “Joe Smith is the best person for handling this problem.”).
Political statements: Candidates for contested offices may have up to three statements, explaining their positions, from Sept. 8 through the Oct. 27 issue. Statements must not exceed 300 words each. They must be submitted as plain text, RTF or Word documents.
News items: Brief news items about candidate activities, such as planned forums, visits, endorsements, etc., will be accepted. Pictures will be used if space is available, but, frankly, space is a serious problem.
Ridgefield Forum: We have added a category, Election 2011, to the Ridgefield Forum on TheRidgefieldPress.com. Here, candidates may post as many statements as they wish, and make them as long as they wish. And voters — or opponents — can debate them. The debate must be civil.
Deadlines: Statements and political news items must reach our office by 1 p.m. on the Thursday before planned publication. Letters have the usual deadline of Monday at 4, but the earlier they are submitted, the better the chance they have of appearing that week. We cannot guarantee that all letters will be published.
Fair play: We expect candidates and supporters to stick to issues and not indulge in personal attacks on opponents. If letters or statements contain strong or serious charges against an opponent, we may opt to offer the opponent a chance to respond. We may reject any letter or statement we think is unfair, libelous or in poor taste. Because they would not have a chance to respond before the election, we will not publish letters critical of candidates in the Nov. 3 issue.
Interviews: As it has for many years, The Press will conduct written interviews with candidates for contested offices. Questions will be sent to candidates in early October. Word limits will be established for responses. Written answers must be returned by Thursday, Oct. 27, at noon. They should be submitted electronically as text or Word documents. The interviews will appear Thursday, Nov. 3 — the issue before the election.
Commentaries: Each party will be asked to submit one “commentary” column of up to 500 words, discussing its slate and the slate’s advantages, to be published in the pre-election issue Nov. 3. Deadline is Oct. 27 at 1. (These commentaries are in addition to the normal, alternating GOP Viewpoint and Democratic View columns, which may also address candidates and election issues each week.) The independent candidate for selectman may also submit a statement of up to 250 words.
Pictures: Parties and candidates may submit campaign-related photos, but they will be used on a space-available basis. In addition, candidates should submit one portrait-style, color photo that they’d like to run with their interviews on Nov. 3.
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