Crain’s Chicago Business ends endorsements of political candidates – Crain’s Chicago Business

The advent of broadcast media and, later, the widespread adoption of the internet democratized voters’ access to information, creating a powerful feedback loop between the citizenry and those seeking elected office. New methods of polling—from longitudinal surveys to instant snap polls on social media—give candidates a sharp sense of what sways voters.

That’s part of the reason why many 21st-century news organizations are backing away from the practice of endorsing candidates for office. Crain’s Chicago Business is joining them. As Chicago’s premier provider of business news and information, Crain’s will continue its tradition of vigorously reporting and commenting on the issues that matter most to the Chicago business, political, civic and philanthropic community. That will never change: Hard-hitting journalism is the foundation of everything we do, and has been since our founding in 1978. We no longer see value, however, in drawing a conclusion on behalf of our readers about who best should lead the city and the state from City Hall, from the Governor’s Mansion or from the halls of the U.S. Senate.

Another factor in our thinking is the hyper-partisan era in which we now do our work. At this point in, say, the governor’s race, we are fairly confident most of our readers have already made up their minds. In fact, early voting has already begun. An endorsement, in that context, can do one of two things: either affirm for readers that their previously formed preference is correct, or give those who disagree a reason to think our coverage of the campaign and, unfortunately, everything else, is biased in favor of the endorsed candidate.

Crain’s reporting is and always will be independent and rigorous. But at a time when trust in the media generally is at a low point, we’re cognizant that anything we do that erodes that trust further is a mistake. And given the plethora of political information that’s readily available now, continuing an endorsement tradition rooted in the days when such information was scarce is unnecessary.

We still believe it is important to invite candidates for major elected office to come to our newsroom and answer tough questions on the issues that matter most to our readership: economic development, taxation, fiscal management, crime, poverty, education—and even social issues which have become priorities as employers consider where they want to run their businesses. We recently hosted Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his Republican challenger, Darren Bailey, and livestreamed those conversations. That practice will continue.

We still believe it’s important to provide a platform for people with diverse points of view to raise concerns and propose solutions to our region’s most pressing problems, and our Opinion space, our monthly Forum series on public policy issues and our monthly Equity feature on diversity and inclusion will remain places for that important conversation to take place.

And we still believe that it is crucial that all citizens express their views at the ballot box. Go to www.HowTo.Vote to find out how to register and to check your registration status.

Jim Kirk
Group publisher and executive editor
Crain’s Chicago Business

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October 24, 2022 at 06:49AM

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