Bucking tradition, Austin American-Statesman forgoes presidential endorsement
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
If you were looking to your local paper to help you decide who to pick for President, don't turn to the Austin American-Statesman
This election cycle, Austin’s local newspaper chose not to endorse a candidate.
It’s a first for the Statesman, but could it be a part of a growing trend?
"To endorse implies some sort of objective criteria on which you're going to base an endorsement and that's increasingly irrelevant and at the national level really and makes local newspaper endorsements kind of a joke,” Robert Jensen, professor of journalism at the University of Texas, said. “A focus on local races might be more appropriate."
That was a big part of the reasoning behind why the Statesman chose not to endorse a presidential candidate this year.
In her editorial, Statesman Editor Debbie Hiott notes that on the local level, reporters talk one-on-one with the candidates, giving the editorial board the ability to make an informed decision, but that's not the case on the national races.
"I think the newspapers are acutely aware of how little impact they have on these kinds of races so why spend any political capital on something that's not going to move the needle," Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg said.
Jensen said the lack of a presidential endorsement could be a sign of an identity crisis faced by many newspapers.
"With cutting staff, a loss of subscribers and some publications stopping print altogether—that leaves some editors asking why participate in any practice that could alienate readers," Jensen said. "Part of the problem is readers often don't distinguish between editorial pages and the news pages."
The Statesman did make down-ballot endorsements.
As for the other papers in the state, the San Antonio Express News endorsed President Obama.
The others, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and Fort Worth Star Telegram all endorsed Republican challenger Mitt Romney.