Observer policy on information from candidates
In November, four seats on the Cleveland Heights City Council and four seats in University Heights come up for election.
The Heights Observer does not make endorsements or recommendations. We do, however, make it easy for anyone in the community to publish his or her opinions on issues and candidates. If you have something to say, please go to the Heights Observer Member Center (http://heightsobserver.org/members/login.php), register as a user, and start contributing.
Contributors may include the candidates themselves, a number of whom—since our founding four years ago—have used the Observer’s editorial and advertising opportunities as a strategic cornerstone of their campaigns.
There is a concern, however, that candidates could swamp the Observer’s pages with opinion pieces and articles. That’s because each page of the newspaper costs money to print; the number of pages we print is based on the advertising revenue in that issue. This is how most print publications operate.
If one candidate wrote something in July, and the others waited until the October issue—near the end of the campaign—we wouldn't be able to accommodate every candidate’s submission within the pages of that issue.
So, between July and November, the Observer will not publish candidate contributions of any kind in the printed edition of the paper. That ensures that everyone is treated equally.
We will provide detailed information about the candidates in a pre-election roundup in the October issue. We welcome comments and contributions of others right up until the election.
The Observer provides a way for candidates to reach residents: through its websites, which don’t have the same space limitation as the paper. All candidates are invited and encouraged to make submissions at the Heights Observer website (http://heightsobserver.org) and the Heights Observer/Blogs (http://blogs.heightsobserver.org/). A few candidates have already asked about using the Observer blogs to help community members get to know them better. Submissions can be made any time. Anyone—candidate or other—who wants to contribute a blog should contact me directly.
This information has been provided, by mail, to candidates who are already registered for one of the two municipal elections. We’ll do our best to keep up as new candidates enter the races—and hope they’ll reach out to the Observer as well.
The Observer is owned by the community and produced entirely by members of the CH-UH community. Among media outlets in the region, only the Observer returns its profits back to the community in the form of community-building programs and services. For that reason, we feel a special responsibility around the elections. Now you know how we mean to handle it.
To express your opinion privately, e-mail Bob Rosenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org. To express your opinion as a letter to the editor, register at the Observer Member Center (http://heightsobserver.org/members) and click on “Submit New Story” to contribute your letter.
Bo Rosenbaum, chairman of the Observer's editorial advisory committee and FutureHeights board member, writes this column to provide transparency and understanding about the Observer.