CKNJ rules of politics

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How we do what we do in political coverage

By Moreland Jeff

Every game has its rules, and politics are no different.

Here at the CKNJ, we have our own rules that we follow when it comes to politics and our coverage of political events. They are in place to help us be as fair as possible to each candidate.

When the political season rolls around, candidates begin by making an announcement of their intention to seek office. We welcome any candidate to do this, and we will publish one notice from each person declaring their candidacy.

After a person has filed to run for office, they often make public appearances. It's not uncommon for candidates on the local, as well as state level, to host events where they meet with voters to discuss their stance on a number of issues, answer questions, and shake hands and kiss babies, as the old saying goes. For those events, the CKNJ will attend and provide coverage of one event per candidate. Coverage typically includes attending the event, taking a photograph and printing a short amount of information about the event.

We know every candidate has supporters, and while we welcome letters from those who want to proclaim their allegiance to a candidate, those letters are limited to one per person. Our basic rules for letters to the editor still apply. We will not provide a forum for mudslinging against another candidate, and will only publish letters that can be verified by calling the person whose name appears on the letter. If the letter is coming from a group or organization, the name of the person who oversees the group will be published, along with the name of the group or organization.

No political support letters will be published after May 1. This gives us time to get all letters published, and for anyone who wishes to provide a rebuttal.

When it comes to covering political candidates who are already in office, it will be business as usual for the CKNJ. If a person is running for re-election, they may appear in the newspaper at times as they perform their duties as an elected official. Although we are concerned about providing balanced coverage to each candidate, we continue to be dedicated to providing the news to our readers, and that will at times require publishing photos and/or stories about those who are in office.

Shortly before the primary election, which takes place on May 20, we will publish a story on each race on the ballot for local voters. These stories will be based upon information received from the candidates, and will provide our readers with basic information about the candidate. Questionnaires will be mailed to each candidate at the address they provided on their official paperwork when they filed to run for office, and each candidate will have an opportunity to answer the same questions. It is the responsibility of the candidate to return their answers to the CKNJ to have them published.

Questionnaires will be mailed on or before April 1, and must be turned in to the CKNJ no later than April 18 at 5 p.m., with no exceptions. The series of stories focusing on local races will be published starting in the April 24 issue of the CKNJ. The final installment in the series will be published May 15, followed by a story featuring information about local voting precincts and voting instructions on May 19. Primary election results will be published in our May 22 issue.

All of the coverage mentioned above is done at no cost.

That just about covers everything related to our political coverage, but if you have more questions about our processes, feel free to contact me via email at publisher@cknj.com or by phone at (270) 465-8111.