With the latest rounds of elections approaching, we’d like to remind everyone of Observer policies regarding political coverage and opinion submissions.
Anyone, including candidates, may submit a letter to the editor discussing an issue of public interest. For these pieces to be printed on the opinion page, they may not support or oppose specific candidates, as that would function as political advertising.
Everyone is subject to the same rules of a 500-word limit; no more than one submission per month; no libelous, obscene or unnecessarily inflammatory material; and all submissions needing to be signed with first and last name and city of residence to be considered for publication.
We occasionally make exceptions to the word limit or monthly submission limit, but these will not be made when the topic involves election politics or when the writer is a candidate or campaign manager.
If a candidate, member of the public or governmental official wishes to have an opinion regarding a specific candidate published, this functions as political advertising and must be paid for as such. We, too, need to make a living and can’t afford to give away our advertising product for free all the time.
There will be no exceptions to this rule on opinions about candidates because it is important that we treat everyone fairly. This means we won’t do candidate endorsements, since the rule applies to us, too.
We will provide news coverage of candidate filing and election results, and all candidates in the races we cover will be invited to respond to candidate questionnaires. There will be no charge to candidates for this coverage, as we believe it’s important news our readers should have.
For announcements of candidacy, people can submit one if they are running for a local office or live in our coverage area of Sandoval County or northwest Albuquerque. The announcements must adhere to a strict 150-word limit and no photos will be included. Anything more functions as political advertising and, again, must be paid for as such.
By “local office,” we mean school board, municipal government or county government within Sandoval County, or state legislative seats representing our coverage area.
We will run announcements for statewide or federal offices only if the candidate resides in our coverage area.
We will not solicit candidate announcements, beyond our reports on who signs up on official candidate filing dates. Each candidate may have only one announcement published per election season.
If anyone wants to have letters or announcements printed as political advertising, there is no limit on words or frequency of publication, except the advertiser’s budget and interest in writing.
Anyone with questions about these policies or how a proposed letter or announcement fits into them is invited to contact editor Argen Marie Duncan at [email protected] or 891-7171. Anyone wishing to place political advertising or get a price quote may contact ad executive Susan Saunier at [email protected] or 221-9881.