Letters to the editor

Unfair Treatment of Tarrytown Mayoral Candidates Questioned

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October 26, 2021

To the Editor:

I’m writing to object to the continuing presence of only one of the three Tarrytown mayoral candidates on the landing page of your website. The article in question, “Tarrytown Mayoral Candidates Share Positions on Key Issues” has appeared on this page for weeks now, but only Paul Janos is pictured. The doctrine of “equal time”, which I would have thought a “trusted news source” would be scrupulous about observing, requires that Mr.Janos’ image share equal presence with that of Douglas Zollo and Karen Brown, the other two candidates. It is beginning to seem like The Hudson Independent is supporting Janos in the mayoral election, and The Hudson Independent has never endorsed candidates before, as I recall.

There’s only one week left until Nov. 2, so I hope the paper will get photos of the other two candidates up to show the paper’s impartiality or just remove Janos’ picture.

With thanks,
Katharine M. Swibold
Tarrytown, N.Y.


Dear Ms. Swibold:

Thank you for your letter. The article you refer to featured a composite image that included headshots of all three candidates for mayor of the Village of Tarrytown, placed horizontally in alphabetical order. J is between B and Z, hence the placement of Janos’ headshot  in the center of the image. When the image was automatically cropped to a thumbnail by our content management system software when its algorithm flagged the article for our “popular” stories section, only portions of Brown and Zollo’s headshots could be seen on either side of Janos’ on our homepage when the article was listed in that particular location. 

When the article was featured in our rotating top stories section at the top of the homepage and as the top story in our “Government and Politics” homepage section, the entire featured image (all three candidates, in full) could be seen. When a reader clicked through to the article, the entire featured image could be seen. (A reader would also see upon clicking through that Janos did not provide responses to the questions The Hudson Independent posed for that article by the publication deadline, so his positions were not included in the article.)

In the meantime, our homepage featured stories on trustee candidates for the other political parties (with headshots) and a story covering former Mayor Drew Fixell’s endorsement of Karen Brown, which featured an image of the two politicians.

It isn’t technically possible with our current website implementation for us to choose a different featured image for the thumbnail of a story when it appears in a list. Because we want our coverage to remain about the facts and not the coverage itself, we have replaced the featured image for this article with the Village of Tarrytown logo and moved the composite headshot further down in the article so readers still have an opportunity to associate a candidate name with a face. We hope the story remains in the “popular stories” section because it means our readers seek information about the candidates ahead of the Nov. 2 election.

Please rest assured The Hudson Independent does not support any candidate in any race. (As an aside, the “fairness doctrine,” often confused with “equal time,” is defunct. “Equal time” only pertains to broadcast news media and typically refers to air time for advertisements.)

Thanks again for your letter and engagement with our coverage.

The Hudson Independent

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