Covering issues as important as the results

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Covering an election is easy. You go to the courthouse the day everyone votes, pick up the printout from all of the precincts, talk to the winners and write up the results.

Covering a campaign, however, is a whole different story.

Over the past two weeks, The Democrat has begun an examination of the issues involved in this campaign, from economic development &8212; which an online poll tells us is the overriding issue &8212; to tourism to public safety. In coming days and weeks we will look at other issues, including curb appeal, leadership and fiscal responsibility.

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We believe covering those issues and researching what candidates would do about them is as important &8212; if not more important &8212; than providing readers with the results of the election. We want to give voters as a full picture as possible of the people who seek to lead this community.

We hope over the next few weeks to provide a detailed picture of all of the candidates and their views on a variety of issues &8212; as well as some insight into how they would lead the city if elected.

As part of that coverage, we also plan to make endorsements of candidates as election day draws closer.

This is not a subject we take lightly; we believe it is our responsibility as a community newspaper and as community leaders to offer our opinion. We don&8217;t expect everyone to agree with our choices, but if you read The Democrat and our coverage of the campaign, you know we&8217;ve done our homework.

But that doesn&8217;t mean we don&8217;t want to hear what readers think as well.

A few simple ground rules:

4We will not publish letters to the editor or Top of the Morning articles from candidates themselves. We believe this gives unfair advantage and unequal coverage to that candidate.

4We do, however, welcome letters to the editor in support of certain candidates. Those letters can be dropped off at our office, faxed to 442-7315 or e-mailed to me at


We will accept letters until Friday, April 30, for the primary and until Friday, May 28, for the general election. This ensures we can print the letters in a timely manner before the election without unfairly introducing a new issue before a candidate can respond.

4We will not publish Top of the Morning articles in support of a particular candidate. We would welcome such articles in support of voting, however, and encourage anyone who wishes to write about the importance of going to the polls to do so.

In fact, in our Style section today, you&8217;ll find a guest column from a resident whose grandparents helped shape her view about voting. From the grandfather who walked the streets on election day reminding his neighbors to vote to the grandmother who worked for women&8217;s suffrage, Darleine Bucklew got a pretty good education on the importance of voting.

This election is extremely important to Natchez&8217;s future. Voters need to educate themselves about each candidate and carefully consider their views on issues &8212; and vote for the best people to lead our community.

But most important, we all need to vote.

Kerry Whipple

is editor of The Democrat. She can be reached at 445-3541 or by e-mail at kerry.whipple@