Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Endorsements

If your paper is not a news source that obviously announces its biases, advocating a political ideology is a leap of faith that has caused consumer backlash in recent months.

We are in full election mode: the debates are in full swing and the voting centers will be open very soon. Although you, as an individual, have your own political opinions, you expect that your work environment is likely neutral and that your newspaper have avoided endorsing a candidate. A non-endorsement is what we, at Above the Fold, advocate since endorsing a political candidate is likely to alienate voters in your locale from reading your paper. However, we found a chart on editorandpublisher.com that shows a good percentages of newspapers nation-wide are, in fact, endorsing a presidential candidate.

This can be good news or bad news. Like we said, a political endorsement can hurt your paper, but depending on your demographic, it can also bolster your ad sales and readership. If, for example, you live in a relatively homogenous community, your reader base may rally around your paper. However, if your community is varied and diverse in political belief, you do stand to lose some, if not half, of your readers.

You could also identify the same issue amongst your staff. While office environments are area where political discussion should be absent, all bets are off if your paper publically endorses a candidate. Inter-office congenialities could deteriorate, leaving your staff with negative feelings toward you and each other. As a news source, it is your job to bring unbiased reporting to your local community.

Although there are examples, of course; redstate.com and the dailykos.com are two sides of the politically biased news source coin. However, if your paper is not a news source that obviously announces its biases, advocating a political ideology is a leap of faith that has caused consumer backlash in recent months. This can be easily illustrated with the recent Chick-Fil-A scandal. When the company’s president, Dan Cathy, discussed his views on same-sex marriage, consumers on each side of the debate had an opinion. Those in favor of same-sex marriage were furious, and those against thought it was a case of free exercise of first amendment rights. Whatever your stance on Cathy’s views, one thing is for sure, he garnered national attention and action for an issue that should not be part of his company’s identity.

Gone is the time where political beliefs were a non-issue between friends, family and community members; we are in a time of divisive politics where small businesses and news sources must hide their convictions in order to gain patronage by all sides of the political coin. Either way, look to you the consumers in your area before you decide to act upon your own personal convictions. Since you are the news source for everyone, your own beliefs may not reflect those who keep you in business.

 

To view the information referenced in this article go to: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/election/