With the rapid approach of the Nov. 7 general election, it’s a good time to remind readers of long-standing election policies at the Williams-Grand Canyon News.
The week prior to any election, we do not run candidate interviews, letters to the editor or guest viewpoints endorsing candidates or election issues.
Thus, this year, the Oct. 25 edition will be the last week anything of that nature will appear. And the deadline for submission is noon Oct. 23.
That way if any inaccurate information gets into print, we have a chance to clarify it before voters go to the polls.
Neither do we, as a paper, endorse a particular candidate. We do, however, endorse an issue when we feel it will be of benefit, particularly to our local area. For example, last spring the News came out in support of the city’s $3 million bond issue to fund continued water exploration and development.
Remember, our news hole is a small one. Policy, from our corporate headquarters in Yuma, dictates we must have 50 percent advertising each week to turn a profit. As a result, we need to plan our space wisely and urge those who want to submit material for publication to do so as early as possible.
Expect to see school board election interviews in upcoming issues. This year there are five candidates vying for the three seats available. All should be commended for putting their hats into the ring in an effort to benefit local students. Those who sit on this board put in countless hours weighing complex issues without any monetary compensation.
To be as fair as possible, all five will be interviewed prior to publishing any of their responses.
On Nov. 9, we will run a flyer inserted in our paper reporting election results we have available, primarily focusing on local candidates. Our Tuesday press deadline prevents us from providing more thorough coverage until Nov. 16.
And while on the topic of our policies, it might be wise to remind readers of our stance on the following:
• Letters to the editor should be as concise as possible — as a rule no more than 300 words. Guest viewpoints have more leeway in terms of length and can range from 500 to 1,200 words.
They should be typed if possible, double-space, upper- and lower-case. Please do not type in all caps. This will save us the time required to reformat them.
Of course, we prefer them to be typed but will accept them if printed legibly by hand.
We will not print any letter we feel is potentially libelous or that contains attacks on an individual or a business.
All letters and viewpoints are subject to editing. Whether printed or not, they become the property of the News and will not be returned.
For verification purposes, letters must be signed by the person who penned them. We must have the writer’s physical address and phone number. An e-mail address is not sufficient.
Thanking people is wonderful. But once your list of extends beyond a dozen, we don’t have room to accommodate you on our editorial page. If you want to itemize more than that, out ad department can assist you.
• When our editorial staff makes an error, we are more than willing to acknowledge it. The top of page two is reserved for corrections, clarifications and even an occasional apology.
But remember, we sometimes are unaware of errors unless a reader points them out to us. Also, even with our small news hole we deal with tens of thousands of words in print. Although we strive for accuracy, it’s a realistic to assume a few mistakes will slip by us.
• It is our policy to report all incidents which appear in Williams Police officers’ reports. We get many requests to omit a name or address, most frequently from relatives or friends of the cited party.
In attempt to be fair, we do not pick and choose cases to include. If an officer files a report, we will print a concise summary of it.
Within each week’s police report, we run the following statement: "EDITOR’S NOTE: While this log reports arrests, a person isn’t guilty until convicted of the crime in a court of law."
We recently started boxing this information in bold type to make it more prominent.
• All our negatives are digitally scanned into our computer system and can be reproduced on laser printer paper. We simply do not have glossy photos to share with the public. And if photos are shot with a digital camera, we download them directly from a disk into our system. In that case, we don't even have a negative to share.