The Future will not endorse a candidate
Published: Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010 14:02
The intent of this column, summed up, is to announce that under my direction, the Central Florida Future will not be endorsing a candidate for the 2010 Student Government Association Presidential elections.
A warning to those who may be thinking that it is because we don't like either candidate this year: That is false.
There is a long list of reasons why I have decided to take the Future in this direction, and that is simply not one of them. Reporters from this newspaper have met with both tickets. Both have been respectful and willing to cooperate.
This was not an easy decision to make. Endorsing a candidate is something of a time-honored tradition within the newspaper world, spanning back to the days of muskets and wooden teeth. It's almost as ingrained in the world of print as mastheads and typesets.
Looking back, the Future has endorsed the candidate that would go on to win the presidential seat three of the past four elections — and that's only going back as far as I can remember as a student at UCF and someone involved with the Future. It is clear the weight that an endorsement from the student newspaper can have in these kind of elections.
As an opinions editor during the spring of 2008, it was my job to write the Future's endorsement, so it's something that I have a sentimental attachment to as well.
However, I recognize that times have changed.
All it takes is a look at the most common complaint against the current state of the media to understand where the problem is: the perception of bias within reporting.
While we may have full faith in our ability to edit a newspaper and also to endorse a candidate, we understand that many of you question our ability to do this — and frankly the ability of the media as a whole to do this.
So, to stop this problem completely, we can end the process of formally endorsing a candidate. All you digest as a reader are the facts we present to you, and you have the ability to form your own personal endorsement with those facts.
There is so much of our news hole that is devoted to covering the goings-on of SGA that it is simply too much of a risk for you, our readers, to think we carry a bias.
Another reason for my decision to end the Future's run at formal endorsements was the advancement of the clear line between what happens on the Opinions page of this newspaper and what happens in the News section. One needs to stay very separate from the other.
Although the stances we present on the page are indeed "Our Stance," or the collective thought of the entire staff, the arguments are formulated and written by a single editor who is not allowed to provide the News section of the paper with content. This keeps everything in its own little world.
Instead of us formally endorsing a candidate, we will be providing you with a 600-word statement from each of the candidates in the Opinions section Monday. Both candidates have been contacted about this, and they know the option awaits them.
This way, you will hear directly from their mouths what they say they have to offer you.
Also, if any individual, representative of a group or RSO would like to send us your endorsement, we will run those as well.
I'm fine with using the Opinions page as a conduit for the thoughts of others.
And to quash this argument before it even has a chance to surface, this is not out of laziness either.
Although I am only in charge of the newspaper for a few more months, it is my hope that my successor, as well as anyone else who will continue managing the paper into the future, will continue this precedent of not using the Future to endorse a candidate.
Thanks, and happy voting.