A message from the Courier to Cobb County political candidates

Larry Johnson, the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier seated in an office chair in front of a small table with a laptop in article about Cobb County Courier Meet the EditorLarry Johnson, the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier

I’d like to send greetings to candidates, supporters, and campaign managers for all the elected offices in Cobb County.

The whole election process is a wonderful display of democracy at work.

And I’d also like to explain a few things about our campaign coverage, and how to best work with us.

First of all, the Cobb County Courier is very small, and in fact, I’m the only full-time person here. So working out an election calendar and systematically approaching each campaign is not something we’ve been able to do yet.

The main consequence of that is that we do not chase campaigns. We tend to cover those candidates who approach us.

It isn’t an ideal situation, but it’s the best we can do until we grow.

The second thing involves our political balance. I get complaints that we cover Democratic campaigns but not Republican ones.

We get approached more frequently by Democratic campaigns than by Republican ones.

Part of that is due to the nature of our coverage (our school board coverage, for instance, is much likelier to anger Republicans than Democrats).

Part is due to the fact that our origins are in covering South Cobb, a much more heavily Democratic area than most of the county, so more Democrats are familiar with the Courier than Republicans.

And finally, I’m the editor and publisher, and I’m a Democrat, so more Democrats feel comfortable approaching us.

So if you’re a Republican candidate, approach us. We’re not going to chase you down in the interest of balance, but unless you start shouting QAnon nonsense, we’ll profile and interview you.

We don’t respond to every press release. Events that campaigns consider significant (fundraising, canvassing, etc) are often beyond our ability to cover. That depends on what other things are going on with our coverage, but it’s the reality.

I’d like to impress on all candidates the responsibility to keep up with your campaign filings. We don’t routinely dig through the periodic financial reports (that’s another thing we don’t have the resources to reliably do) but if it gets pointed out to us that you missed a filing, it’s a newsworthy thing. So please, please, please, especially novice candidates, I don’t like reporting on missed filings, but the public has a right to know if you can take care of administrative tasks because you’ll be expected to cover a lot more complex tasks if you’re elected to office.

And one other thing: be patient with us. This whole operation is me and a few freelance reporters. If you contact us and haven’t gotten an acknowledgment email within a day, phone me. If an interview gets assigned, and you don’t hear back within a week, contact me again. I keep a pretty good calendar, but often it’s overfilled with stuff, and I do drop the ball from time to time.