News and Tribune

March 5, 2014

VAN HOY: Election season guidelines for candidates, readers


— Last year felt a bit odd around the News and Tribune offices.

There was a void ... something missing. In May and again in November, I realized what it was. We were all missing election season.

And I can assure you, the editors, reporters, designers and photographers who put out your daily paper certainly missed the election night pizza which always finds its way into newsrooms across the country.

But all is back to normal in 2014, and by normal I mean we’re gearing up for another crazy election season, this time for county races. It’s a time when anything and everything can be expected and nothing surprises me, except for maybe the amount of pizza the sports department can eat.

With that in mind, I wanted to go over some points and guidelines for readers and candidates as we near the May 6 primary election in Indiana.

Of special interest locally are battles for District 9 of the House of Representatives; state Senate and House seats; a crowded sheriff’s race in Clark and Floyd counties; prosecutor; judge seats; county commissioners and council; and various county offices.

The News and Tribune will again be publishing its own election preview stories leading up to Election Day. Our reporters will soon begin contacting candidates to set up interviews for those in many races.

We also will again provide the opportunity for candidates to answer questions and print those answers verbatim. This year, however, we will not mail printed copies of questions to candidates.

Instead, we will have an online questionnaire for candidates to fill out. Details about how to access those forms will be printed soon in the News and Tribune and at We’ll also provide that information to party chairs in Clark and Floyd counties and publish repeated reminders in the newspaper and online.

As May 6 nears, here are some of the newspaper’s Opinions page guidelines to remember. Also, simply remember to get out and vote between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Election Day, or vote early if you choose to.


• We do not accept regular or guest columns from political candidates actively running for office.

• The News and Tribune does not endorse candidates, nor will we allow our regular Opinions page columnists to endorse candidates.

• From this point during election season, we will not publish letters to the editor from candidates promoting their own candidacy. We do accept letters from candidates endorsing other candidates.

• Letters from readers for publication should stick to campaign issues and not include personal attacks or rumors. Candidates will be allowed to respond to letters questioning them about issues.

• The deadline for submitting election-related letters is 5 p.m. Monday, April 28. Letters will be published through the weekend of May 3-4, but no election letters will be printed on Election Day or the day prior, May 5.

Submission information can be found at the top right corner of this page. Letters should be 400 words or less. Also, the News and Tribune will ask letter-writers if they are related to a candidate or if they work for a candidate’s campaign and note when those relationships exist.

— Editor Shea Van Hoy can be reached via email at or by phone at 812-206-2130. Follow him on Twitter at: @SheaVanHoy