The most wonderful time of the year
For those of you who have been out of the loop, this fall’s municipal election is drawing closer and closer. Ballots will be going out to registered voters in less than three weeks.
I’m asking you, the readers, to submit your questions and commentary on the issues you feel the seven candidates should address as we approach the election.
Some have already responded to inquiries from The Telegram on social media, and I urge more of you to contribute by writing, calling, messaging or stopping by to talk in person. We all have a voice in this.
It’s clear issues related to infrastructure, as well as how we pay for and prioritize infrastructure improvements, are important to many of you. Those will be brought up when we sit down with each candidate in the coming weeks, but to be clear, you will not find any commentary on those issues in this space.
In fact, other than a possible reminder to return your ballot by the Sept. 8 deadline, this is likely the last time you’ll read about the election in my column, but I encourage you to keep the conversation going by submitting letters to the editor.
Election season is an exciting time to be a journalist, one that I wish drew equal excitement from more people. Specifically, I enjoy local elections.
While the likes of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and, dare I say it, Donald Trump, are on the tips of most tongues when discussing politics these days, I find myself as a media consumer increasingly uninterested by the national election politics. As a media producer, that last sentence is the closest I’ll get to the national scene.
Admittedly, I have not been practicing journalism for very long — a source the other day referred to me as “that kid from the meeting” — but in the short time I’ve considered myself a journalist, I’ve always thought of election season as my version of Christmas. Before you scoff at how corny that sounds, it’s worth noting that many of my colleagues at previous stops shared that feeling, though I’ll concede not everyone in those newsrooms had equal enthusiasm.
My excitement is due, in part, to my background. When I first started out, politics, both at the local and national level, intrigued me.
The first real event that I covered, at least it was the first real event in my book, was a post election party for those opposed to Ohio Senate Bill 5 — a bill limiting collective bargaining rights for public employees that was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the newest Republican presidential candidate, Gov. John Kasich.
The vote was a referendum on the legislation and it, the legislation, was soundly denounced by voters — more than 60 percent voted to trash SB5. I remember mingling around the bar, talking with cops, firefighters, teachers. The atmosphere was joyous.
Then the real fun kicked in. I ran down to my car in the underground garage, got in, pulled out my laptop and started typing as fast as possible. I had to file my story, and the clock was ticking. It didn’t even occur to me until I finished that I didn’t have Internet service to send the damn thing. I raced back to campus, pulled into a parking spot within distance of the campus-wide WiFi and hit send. I’ll never forget the feeling.
A professor once told a friend of mine that in the news game, “the deadlines will kill you.” He was just coming back from a heart attack that almost killed him (it was debatable, to say the least, how much his prior career in the news business actually weakened his ticker).
Many journalists will tell you that few things rival the adrenaline rush of writing on deadline, but there’s something about deadline writing on election night that is special.
At smaller institutions, and I mean small, election results hold up the entire show, as well as many of the players in the newsroom who linger long after their typical punch-out time. It’s a mad rush to write, design and edit. When it’s good, it’s a spectacular example of skill and teamwork.
The icing on the cake, of course, is the content itself: people exercising their right to have a say in how government works — I’ll restrain myself from going on a tangent about how money and special interests are making that increasingly questionable at the higher rungs of the political ladder.
Inside-baseball aside, I truly am excited about the next month. I hope you are too, and I hope you share that excitement, in whatever form, with the paper.
Ryan Hoffman is editor of The Citizen Telegram. He can be reached at 970-685-2103 or email@example.com.
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