Monday, February 04, 2008

Duluth paper runs front-page candidate appeals

Community newspapers often seek first-person editorials from candidates running for local offices, and The Duluth News Tribune has applied the practice to presidential politics. Today, the newspaper ran front-page pleas from Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and it will do the same for the Republican contenders tomorrow, reports Mark Fitzgerald of Editor & Publisher.

In 2004, the 40,000-circulation daily in northeastern Minnesota also ran front-page columns from President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry before the general election. "This is what America is all about — you want to hear from the persons themselves why they should be elected," Editorial Page Editor Robin Washington told Fitzgerald. "Washington gave the candidates a pretty tight deadline for the pieces, asking on Friday for something by noon Sunday," Fiztgerald writes. "The Clinton people got her article in early, while the Obama campaign, like a typical reporter, begged for some more time, finally delivering at 4 p.m. And, like a typical editor, Washington bounced the Obama piece back, asking for more references to issues important to northern Minnesotans."

Washington said the articles from Clinton and Obama were an improvement from those by Bush and Kerry in 2004.
"I'm encouraged that in both cases they didn't talk about snowmobiling and hunting, which is what Kerry and Bush hit on," he said. "Not that we don't do those things, but snowmobile and hunting rights just don't seem like the main issues the next leader of the Free World should be concerned with." (Read more)

UPDATE: The New Tribune ran articles from Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney on Tuesday. The paper said the campaigns of former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Ron Paul chose not to participate.

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