Earlier this year, the Northern Star Editorial Board made a decision to stop running candidate endorsements. Nine months later, we stand by that decision.
Many newspapers continue to endorse candidates during election season. The Chicago Tribune published an editorial in January explaining its reasoning behind these endorsements. During that same month, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Northern Star published their arguments for ending the publication of endorsements.
The role of the media and the function of news sources have constantly changed throughout history. At one time, journalists had access to information the average American did not. These journalists used their knowledge to guide the public in making major decisions, like who to vote for in an election.
In an age when information is literally at a reader’s fingertips and journalists are able to share facts with a wide audience, we don’t find it necessary to spell out who the better candidates are in an endorsement. Instead, we provide candidate profiles for local elections and publish coverage of the presidential election. This information keeps our readers informed so they can make their own decisions.
It is impossible to lose our biases entirely, but as journalists striving to maintain the Northern Star’s credibility and produce the best paper we can for our readers, we see endorsements as unnecessary obstacles to those goals.
What we will continue to do is provide the information necessary for our readers to make their own informed decisions. We will continue to publish candidate profiles for local offices, and we will run articles on national elections. We see our role as information gatherers and distributors, and that, we believe, is more effective in the democratic process than picking favorites.
This places a lot of responsibility on you, our readers and Illinois voters. But that responsibility is a result of democracy, which we will continue to facilitate by providing the facts. Nothing more, nothing less.