Cambridge Chronicle editor David Harris sent this thoughtful reply to our post, Cambridge Chronicle Unfair To State Senate Candidates?
Thanks for raising a reasonable question. To start, I think you need a little context. This is a blog post. It did not appear on our news site, WickedLocalCambridge.com or in the “dead tree” version, better known as the Cambridge Chronicle.
SpeakOut is our long-running reader call-in line that actually predates the Web. We periodically post SpeakOuts on the blog that we believe might make for good conversation starters (and opportunities for rebuttals). We also often print SpeakOuts too, but won’t be in this case because there will be only week left before the primary by the time this runs and we are especially sensitive to giving campaigns a balanced playing field.
The purpose of SpeakOut is to give people a different way to express their opinion. These people may not be able to write letters or they may be in a sensitive job that would be jeopardized if they do express their opinion. In this case, a person called our SpeakOut line to offer their take on the state Senate race. There’s really no way to know who this person is or what their motivation is (campaign official/volunteer/genuine political observer?), but this was an opinion expressed by one of our callers and — as long as it doesn’t verge into libel — I saw no real harm in including in along with all our other coverage of this campaign.
I think it’s safe to say that the Chronicle, along with our sister paper the Somerville Journal, is devoting more resources to covering this special election than any other media entity. We’ve invited all seven candidate to meet with us and to answer a Q&A which we will be publishing April 8.
So, yes, on its own that one blog post could be seen as “unfair” but as part of our entire coverage, I feel comfortable having posted it.