A quick glance at recent election filings shows that many races will have a crowded field in 2022. From our perspective as journalists, that means we’ll spend some extra time writing candidate profiles in the months to come. From the perspective of our readers and ourselves as voters, it’s generally positive when residents have a choice at the ballot.
Going in to this election cycle, we are also reflecting on some recent survey numbers related to the media and elections conducted just last month on behalf of the National Newspaper Association. Essentially, they confirm two important points we can already attest to—that community newspapers are one of voters’ most trusted sources of information about candidates and that newspaper readers are voters.
The survey showed that TV news and local newspapers were what the majority of respondents relied on to make election-related decisions. Guess what was at the very bottom of the list? Social media.
An impressive 89 percent of the survey respondents said they are “very likely” to vote in upcoming elections this year for U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate and other federal and state elections. When we emphasize the importance of participating in elections we know that we’re essentially “preaching to the choir.” If you take the time to regularly read the paper, you likely care about the community where you live and want to help guide it in a particular direction. One of the most basic ways to do that is by electing public servants who reflect values important to you.
What should it mean for candidates? It should mean they value a newspaper’s place in the community and our dedication to fact-based reporting. It should also remind them of the reach a newspaper’s candidate profile has in connecting with a significant group of likely voters versus any attack ad they plan to circulate on social media.
So what does this mean? For us at the Tri-City Times it means we’ll keep on keeping on when it comes to providing comprehensive and reliable information about local elections and candidates knowing that our readers depend on it.