By Carl Blankenship
This letter is an apology for an oversight I believe was met with fair criticism.
Amid campaign filing I overlooked Jess Anderson’s announcement for mayor last week. I failed to recognize the Chapel Hill Mayor race was the only contest where TLR ran an announcement brief about a single candidate in a competitive race. I failed to immediately recognize it would be appropriate to make an exception to the stopper I put on campaign briefs and publish a brief on Anderson’s campaign.
The Local Reporter stopped publishing campaign announcements when the 2023 municipal campaign filing period began earlier this month because I did not have the time to get to every brief and it became clear there would be a deluge.
I instead opted to produce a filing roundup and look ahead to collecting candidate questionnaires — a common practice for local media outlets — wherein every candidate would have the opportunity to say what they wanted to voters and receive the same questions for their respective races. In hindsight, I should have made a plan to divvy up and tackle campaign announcements more comprehensively. That was a mistake on my part and the compromise was not ideal.
It was also an error to not see the immediate significance of Jess Anderson’s campaign announcement when, a month prior, I ran a brief about Adam Searing’s campaign announcement for mayor. At that point announcements were trickling in, and in the lead-up to filing I ran some Carrboro announcements, and announcements from two sitting Chapel Hill council members who were not seeking reelection.
This was purely an oversight on my part, and I want to publicly apologize to Mrs. Anderson for the error. The error was not intentional, but it is worth owning and correcting. It is late, but TLR has published a piece on her announcement here with a note and link to this letter. I will include it in this week’s newsletter as well.
I hope to have more to share about improving oversight and accountability at TLR soon.