A Delicate Balancing Act

A Note to Our Readers

Election fever is raging throughout the nation and this week we bring to our readers the chance to meet candidates for a local board. The Pine Mountain Club Property Owners Association board serves as a town government for the people who live there. Four new directors are being elected this year.

This newspaper has fought legal battles to establish the unchallenged right to cover POA elections as news stories, and we are always alert to our responsibility to our readers.

One PMC candidate specifically targeted this newspaper this year as a way of putting his name before the eyes of the voters. Politicians do that all the time. We salute them for aggressive campaigning. Usually they use paid ads. Sometimes they work to attract free news coverage.

A candidate’s tactics seeking unpaid news inches raises an alarm flag for editors, who are charged with not allowing such efforts to take over the news space unfairly.

It can be risky for the candidate also, because once you open the public forum Pandora’s box, the public may respond in a way over which you do not have control. That happened this year. Then the candidate sought additional news inches to have the last word in a very full news week. He complains in the candidates forum beginning on page 14 [see story] that he was not granted additional free space for his campaign.

—Patric Hedlund, Editor

Read the PMCPOA Candidates Forum

This is part of the May 21, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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