Without a primary contest School Board candidates won’t be interviewed by the Editorial Board

4th District School Board candidate, Art Johnston, is denied a chance to have a half hour interview with the News Trib’s Editorial Board prior to their endorsements. Editor Chuck Frederick explains why:

From: Chuck Frederick
To: Art Johnston
Cc: Neal Ronquist
Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 1:18 PM
Subject: Re: any additional info??

Hello, Mr. Johnston. As I said in an email reply to you yesterday, I have nothing at all to do with the News Tribune’s news coverage or news decisions and cannot address anything related to that. I’m confident Editor Rick Lubbers will get back to you on your concerns there.

As I also wrote, with regard to our endorsement process, the Editorial Board is treating you and your opponent in exactly the same way. We requested information from both of you, are doing independent research about both of you, and will be listening intently to your answers at our candidate forums on Friday. The Editorial Board did one-on-one candidate interviews prior to the primary. We are co-hosting candidate forums prior to the general election. Your race didn’t have a primary, so neither you nor your opponent was interviewed. We are treating your candidacies fairly and equally.

Thanks much for your note. I appreciate your concerns, and I welcome this opportunity to again offer clarity about our editorial endorsement process.



Art appeals to the Publisher of the Duluth News Tribune, Neal Ronquist:


All the other endorsements for At-Large candidates have had personal interviews, (and recording kept) by the editorial board, as we all had in past years. I would like to have a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation with them so I have an opportunity at being fairly judged.

Only being seen by the rest of the editorial board in a mass public meeting is not fair. We also have a personal side which I would like the editorial board to see.

The only contact that I know I’ve had with any members of the editorial board is with Chuck. Chuck’s editorial stance 8 years ago, 4 years ago, and 2 years ago was about as biased as one can get, in 100% opposition to me. Who Chuck will endorsement this time around is obvious. I request an opportunity to interact with the rest of editorial board on a personal level, and to level the playing field, to allow the rest of the board to see me as Chuck can’t.

Chuck certainly has a right to his opinion. But I’m asking that I be allowed to have a face-to-face with the rest of the editorial board so I can have an unbiased review by the rest of the editorial board before they make their decision.

Again, the disparate coverage of my candidacy, compared to the at-large candidates by the DNT is not in the public interest.

I request to have a face-to-face interview by the entire editorial board.

If you are going to be endorsing a candidate for 4th District, I request that I be interviewed by the entire editorial board, or else the only fair thing to do is not endorse anyone for 4th District.

Art Johnston

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