Look to us for news, not endorsements

Opinion Oct 16, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

As I write this, it’s exactly two weeks to the day before Hamiltonians go to the polls to pick a mayor, council and school trustees. Over the last 10 months, we here at Hamilton Community News have done our best to keep you informed about the candidates, the issues and the local races themselves. Our coverage will continue right up until voting day, both in our pages and on our website. But there’s one thing you won’t be seeing from us: candidate endorsements.

And we’re not alone. In fact, I’ve never worked at a newspaper that did endorsements.

In many ways the whole notion of a news organization telling its readers who they should vote for seems rather paternalistic. Yes, we’ve been studying the candidates and are among the best informed people in the city on the issues, but every voter places a different emphasis on what’s important to them and their community.

Take the LRT for example. If you live along its route, or commute along the B-Line then to you its construction may legitimately be the most important thing that could happen to the city in the next 20 years. However, if you don’t, you might see it as a white elephant whose operating expenses will draw funds away from other projects that are more important to you. So as a paper should we support a pro-LRT candidate even though most of our readers may get limited benefit from it, or an anti-LRT candidate knowing that the first line is a part of a much larger transit plan that, if fully built, would bring fast, efficient public transit to the communities we cover?

And for us the idea of “communities” is key. With four newspapers each covering a different area of the city, the best mayor for Ancaster, might be terrible for Stoney Creek. A trustee candidate might make a proposal that would benefit schools on the Mountain, but hurt those in Dundas. That could leave us in the awkward situation of endorsing multiple candidates for the same office which, at best would make use look indecisive, and at worst, pandering to all sides to ensure that we have political favour with whomever is in power after Oct. 27.

Some might argue that what we need to “take the whole city into account” when it comes to backing candidates, and while that sounds like a noble idea, it’s often code for trying to entice someone to vote for something for which they’ll see little or no direct benefit at the expense of something they would. That said, if all voters cast their ballots based on their narrow self-interest, we’d end up with a very dysfunctional council indeed.

Instead, we’ve chosen to avoid all that by focusing on providing you as straight-forward and unbiased coverage of our local and citywide candidates as we can. (Even in our election-related editorials, we’ve tried to pose questions for discussions rather than to say voters aught to make this choice.)

I think the work we’ve done is much more valuable for Hamilton voters than any endorsement ever would be.

— Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

Look to us for news, not endorsements

Opinion Oct 16, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

As I write this, it’s exactly two weeks to the day before Hamiltonians go to the polls to pick a mayor, council and school trustees. Over the last 10 months, we here at Hamilton Community News have done our best to keep you informed about the candidates, the issues and the local races themselves. Our coverage will continue right up until voting day, both in our pages and on our website. But there’s one thing you won’t be seeing from us: candidate endorsements.

And we’re not alone. In fact, I’ve never worked at a newspaper that did endorsements.

In many ways the whole notion of a news organization telling its readers who they should vote for seems rather paternalistic. Yes, we’ve been studying the candidates and are among the best informed people in the city on the issues, but every voter places a different emphasis on what’s important to them and their community.

Take the LRT for example. If you live along its route, or commute along the B-Line then to you its construction may legitimately be the most important thing that could happen to the city in the next 20 years. However, if you don’t, you might see it as a white elephant whose operating expenses will draw funds away from other projects that are more important to you. So as a paper should we support a pro-LRT candidate even though most of our readers may get limited benefit from it, or an anti-LRT candidate knowing that the first line is a part of a much larger transit plan that, if fully built, would bring fast, efficient public transit to the communities we cover?

And for us the idea of “communities” is key. With four newspapers each covering a different area of the city, the best mayor for Ancaster, might be terrible for Stoney Creek. A trustee candidate might make a proposal that would benefit schools on the Mountain, but hurt those in Dundas. That could leave us in the awkward situation of endorsing multiple candidates for the same office which, at best would make use look indecisive, and at worst, pandering to all sides to ensure that we have political favour with whomever is in power after Oct. 27.

Some might argue that what we need to “take the whole city into account” when it comes to backing candidates, and while that sounds like a noble idea, it’s often code for trying to entice someone to vote for something for which they’ll see little or no direct benefit at the expense of something they would. That said, if all voters cast their ballots based on their narrow self-interest, we’d end up with a very dysfunctional council indeed.

Instead, we’ve chosen to avoid all that by focusing on providing you as straight-forward and unbiased coverage of our local and citywide candidates as we can. (Even in our election-related editorials, we’ve tried to pose questions for discussions rather than to say voters aught to make this choice.)

I think the work we’ve done is much more valuable for Hamilton voters than any endorsement ever would be.

— Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

Look to us for news, not endorsements

Opinion Oct 16, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

As I write this, it’s exactly two weeks to the day before Hamiltonians go to the polls to pick a mayor, council and school trustees. Over the last 10 months, we here at Hamilton Community News have done our best to keep you informed about the candidates, the issues and the local races themselves. Our coverage will continue right up until voting day, both in our pages and on our website. But there’s one thing you won’t be seeing from us: candidate endorsements.

And we’re not alone. In fact, I’ve never worked at a newspaper that did endorsements.

In many ways the whole notion of a news organization telling its readers who they should vote for seems rather paternalistic. Yes, we’ve been studying the candidates and are among the best informed people in the city on the issues, but every voter places a different emphasis on what’s important to them and their community.

Take the LRT for example. If you live along its route, or commute along the B-Line then to you its construction may legitimately be the most important thing that could happen to the city in the next 20 years. However, if you don’t, you might see it as a white elephant whose operating expenses will draw funds away from other projects that are more important to you. So as a paper should we support a pro-LRT candidate even though most of our readers may get limited benefit from it, or an anti-LRT candidate knowing that the first line is a part of a much larger transit plan that, if fully built, would bring fast, efficient public transit to the communities we cover?

And for us the idea of “communities” is key. With four newspapers each covering a different area of the city, the best mayor for Ancaster, might be terrible for Stoney Creek. A trustee candidate might make a proposal that would benefit schools on the Mountain, but hurt those in Dundas. That could leave us in the awkward situation of endorsing multiple candidates for the same office which, at best would make use look indecisive, and at worst, pandering to all sides to ensure that we have political favour with whomever is in power after Oct. 27.

Some might argue that what we need to “take the whole city into account” when it comes to backing candidates, and while that sounds like a noble idea, it’s often code for trying to entice someone to vote for something for which they’ll see little or no direct benefit at the expense of something they would. That said, if all voters cast their ballots based on their narrow self-interest, we’d end up with a very dysfunctional council indeed.

Instead, we’ve chosen to avoid all that by focusing on providing you as straight-forward and unbiased coverage of our local and citywide candidates as we can. (Even in our election-related editorials, we’ve tried to pose questions for discussions rather than to say voters aught to make this choice.)

I think the work we’ve done is much more valuable for Hamilton voters than any endorsement ever would be.

— Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.