On the future of editorial pages, and political endorsements
The demise of editorial endorsements is no great loss if it is replaced by increased access to information about the candidates. Here in Chicago, the legacy outlets no longer endorse judicial candidates in Cook County, one of the largest unified court systems in the world, but Injustice Watch produces a non-partisan judicial election guide that thoroughly profiles every candidate on the ballot. No endorsements, just empowering voters to make informed decisions.
You might find this commentary interesting. I rounded up former editors to discuss their perspectives on the historic impact:
Hugely agree. The Internet democratized the idea of “the expert”— thank goodness— so we readers actually get more and better opinions than ever before— just not solely from major newspapers. More and better local opinion pieces fills a huge need. Great idea
Like the picture. We still have a Heidelberg in our print shop that's part of our office.
I'd take issue with this:
"almost all of our larger cities have become decidedly more Democratic, making their newspapers’ potentially most important endorsements those in primary elections. In such circumstances, national and even many statewide endorsements serve little point, while local primary endorsements will tend to hinge on questions of temperament and experience voters can more easily judge for themselves."
First, it's not "almost all", it's all. But second, Democratic primaries are *precisely* the contests where voters have super low amounts of information and can't easily judge for themselves. We have a huge primary coming up in my new Congressional district, NY-10, which has I think 20 or so candidates. There's no way for me to properly get to know all of them. It's the actual job of local editorial boards to interview those candidates, get a feel for who is the most competent, etc.
Can that job be better done by journalists on the news side? When it comes to policy, *maybe*. They can interview candidates, send out questionnaires, publish voter guides, "where the candidates stand on the issues", etc. But *most* of the time there won't be a lot of real policy disagreements between candidates. One will "stand up for working people" and another will "fight for affordable housing" or whatever, but ultimately people vote not on the policy slates -- that are generally almost identical -- but on the question of competence, which is much harder to convey in a news article. That kind of informed judgment is exactly what editorial boards are for.