By Chris Ryndak
This was in the news a few weeks ago, but I still think it’s worth talking about, especially with the first Tuesday of November right around the corner. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution announced that it will no longer endorse political candidates:
That world has changed, steadily and more rapidly in recent years. We see our role now as providing you with information to help you make decisions — and not trying to make them for you.
It’s certainly an interesting decision as political endorsements have been, for better or worse, a long-standing tradition within the newspaper industry.
It’s nice that the AJC is making a push to better inform their readers, but is it necessary for them to eliminate their own opinion in order to do that? If anything, readers would probably need more guidance in trying to understand complicated issues. The best guidance may very well be the newspaper’s editorial staff coming out and telling the public exactly what they think about an issue.
Apparently, the AJC disagrees.
Endorsements are important. I know a lot of students relied on what The Spectrum had to say before they went to the polls last week to vote for their new Student Association president. The same was true for the elections last March. It’s not a national election or anything, but having educated voters is never a bad thing.
Of course, the AJC makes a good point in that it doesn’t want to simply tell voters which lever to pull. Readers should be doing their own homework, but we all know that rarely happens.
People like to be told what to do and having the newspaper come right out and say which candidate they think will best serve the community probably makes it easier for those people to decide. Is dumping endorsements all together really the future of newspapers?
A majority of people — informed or not– are just going to vote for whomever they’re told to anyways. A newspaper can run as many long-winded, enterprise pieces as it wants, most of the time, especially nowadays, people want the bottom line.
The AJC may not like it, but a strong suggestion of who to vote for is what many people like — and expect — to see from a newspaper.