Wind Sprints: Summit Daily shifts coverage as Nov. approaches (editor column)
September 9, 2016
If politics aren't your thing, you might want to lie low for the next two months — maybe stock up on bourbon and sardines and hole up in an off-the-grid yurt somewhere deep in the woods. Bring a stack of Stephen King novels and maybe a typewriter, because you definitely won't want to read the Summit Daily News.
Over the next several weeks, it's going to be all election coverage and no play, to paraphrase "The Shining."
Story upon story will explore the issues and political races that matter most to Summit County residents. And we'll likely be publishing a Quandary Peak-sized pile of letters to the editor. Before you put down a deposit on that yurt, consider this: The future of Summit County and the state of Colorado is at stake this November. Really.
Forget Trump and Clinton for a moment (a new Zen mantra?) and just take a look at the state ballot: Universal health care for Coloradans, an increase to the state minimum wage, assisted suicide — and we thought legalizing marijuana was ambitious.
Here in Summit, voters will decide whether we implement a sales tax that could generate upwards of $7 million in revenue annually for workforce housing projects. There's more: In November, we will pick our next sheriff and district attorney; we will select two candidates for county commissioner seats; and we will decide whether or not to support an increase in funding for a school district that is quickly outgrowing its aging buildings. Summit will also play a role in electing our representation at the State Capitol. Both State Representative Millie Hamner and State Senator Randy Baumgardner are up for re-election this year.
The 2016 election is hugely important, nationally, regionally and locally. The Summit Daily will be covering it all. We'll use Associate Press and Denver Post for the national and state stuff, though not always (we have plans for a five-part series on ColoradoCare starting on Sept. 19). Mainly, we'll be going deep on local races and issues.
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You've been warned.
Since we're now in the habit of issuing trigger warnings, here's another: We're changing how we cover elections in our opinion pages. Starting this election cycle, the Summit Daily will once again begin endorsing candidates in local and state races. When I became editor in 2012 it was the Daily's policy not to promote one candidate over another. For years, we've stuck to that. Though I know it will generate some controversy and hurt feelings, I believe that endorsements are an important service to voters who are seeking informed guidance. In local politics, party affiliation should not be the only determining factor for how one votes. I vow to make sure our endorsement process does not compromise the objectivity of our reporting. I also promise to keep the endorsement positive, and not personal.
I'd also like to take a moment to talk briefly about letters to the editor. The bottom line is this: We will run most letters as long as they adhere to our basic guidelines. No letter-writing campaigns. No personal attacks. Keep them to 300 words. If you want, you can even use that typewriter you lugged to your yurt to write them. Email works, too.
Ben Trollinger is the managing editor of the Summit Daily News. Contact him at (970) 668-4618 or at email@example.com.
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