The first letter to the editor that we’re printing this week had some pointed things to say about how we publish the press releases of Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-3rd). We had been talking internally about publicly addressing how and why we publish press releases from elected officials, and this seems like a good time to do so.
Most weeks, we have a “Government Page,” that has one to three press releases from elected officials. Mayors and council members use this space as a way to directly reach residents. If you want Manchester residents to know about something, for example, you don’t get a better local source than The Manchester Times. More often than not, this page is full of state or federal lawmakers.
Every week, I scour through politicians’ press releases. Some of them get sent to us. Some of them we have to find. I choose what to run based on what is the most timely and what would impact our readers the most.
This has been a long-time policy of Micromedia Publications since it was founded in 1995. It’s not really a service for politicians, but a service for readers. Elected officials do a lot of work that never makes it to the front page, but still impacts your lives. You need to know what politicians are doing, even if it doesn’t warrant a full news story.
We publish press releases from politicians regardless of their political stripe. It just happens that almost all of them around here are Republicans. We welcome releases from Toms River’s Republican Mayor Thomas Kelaher as much as Brick’s Mayor John Ducey, a Democrat. Occasionally, I will look at Robert Menendez and Cory Booker’s websites, both state Democrats, but those releases are not usually relevant to our area.
As for MacArthur, we have the same relationship with him that we did with his predecessors: Jon Runyan, a Republican, and John Adler, a Democrat. We publish him frequently because he frequently sends us stuff. There certainly have been more this year, an election year, but looking at his web site, you can see one or more releases a week last year as well.
We also welcome letters that are either for or against him. If you look at the letters pages, you’ll see that there are quite a few readers who strongly dislike him.
We have no official position on any of our elected officials. As a policy, we don’t endorse candidates. So, in closing, don’t mistake the publication of a press release as an endorsement of a candidate. We are just letting you know what they’re up to and what they’re thinking.
*The opinions expressed in the Letters To The Editor section do not necessarily reflect those of the staff, management or sponsors of Micromedia Publications/Jersey Shore Online. Letters to the Editor are the OPINION of the writer and the content is not necessarily checked for accuracy.*