Journalism is frequently put to a test during an election campaign. During the political skirmishes that accompany an election, articles may appear on the pages of a newspaper that prompt one side or the other to cry “partisanship.” That holds true whether the setting is national or local, such as the mayoral and trustee races now taking place in two of our villages. The Hudson Independent has consistently avoided taking sides and endorsing candidates, rather adhering to the “Independent” signified in its name. Importantly, this newspaper also has strived to maintain a neutrality and balance in our news coverage, relying on objective reporting to provide readers with straightforward information to help them determine whom they will support in an election.
Sidestepping coverage of a candidate in an election, apparently the custom of some publications, is an action this paper will never intentionally do. However, in the case of a candidate apparently reluctant to respond to repeated requests for an interview, as was the situation for us in one of the local mayoral races this month, there is little we can do to communicate that contender’s position on whatever the issues are.
Events arising during an election period tangential to the election may often touch on candidates. If these stories appear to have authenticity, they cannot properly be ignored, and they are covered. If their substance later proves questionable, that too must be reported and printed. With a community monthly, such as this newspaper, 30 days may pass after the initial story is published and the follow-up is printed. That is unfortunate but often unavoidable.
During an election campaign, readers also have a responsibility. They need to wade through the issues that arise during the campaign and separate the less consequential from those of more serious concern, such as, in the case of Sleepy Hollow, who will best lead the village during the major development that will take place on the former GM site along the waterfront. The obvious impact that Lighthouse Landing will have on the village and its many ramifications, will require steady, knowledgeable leadership ahead. With both mayoral races in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow contested, and two complete trustee slates competing in the latter village, the elections this month are important. So separate the wheat from the chaff, judge each candidate not just on their political labels and rhetoric but on their ability to lead; and go to the polls on March 18 to make your opinion count.