A preview of a column coming up Saturday or Monday:
Politically engaged readers pay close attention to word choice, headline size and other nuances in the heat of campaign season, so we need to keep on our toes.
One aspect of our coverage that's closely watched by insiders is how we use photos of candidates during the campaign and on election night. Statewide and congressional candidates make a lot of visits to the Rochester area during a campaign, and we try to balance them out while accurately representing a candidate's attention to the area. That calibration is more delicate when the candidate is an incumbent, thus already a "newsmaker" by definition.
Early Wednesday morning, as we looked at the primary election results, we decided that the most interesting and relevant race to feature at the top of that day's front page was the Rochester mayoral race. The top vote-getter was Mayor Ardell Brede, so it made sense to use a photo of him being congratulated after the votes were counted.
That annoyed at least one reader, who wrote a letter to the editor saying it betrayed favoritism to Brede.
Not true. We had election night photos of candidates Cindy Maves and Stephanie Kilen as well, if we'd needed them. And Maves' name was in very big type at the top of the page, along with Brede's, to indicate they advanced to the general election.
We understand that fine points like this are important, and we do our best to pay attention.
Here's a related point about a photo that ran with a story Thursday about how the city of Rochester has been slow to implement more bike-friendly practices. The pic was of a bicyclist riding in the pedestrian crossing on South Broadway at Second Street. That drew this comment from a reader:
"The irony of the front page photo of the downtown bicyclist and the current cry for more bicycle lanes was hilarious. He was riding against the traffic -- WRONG WAY! He was not riding where a bike lane would be. He wasn't wearing a helmet!
"I am getting tired of bicyclists complaining about motorists who don't give them their space when a large number of them don't stop for lights or stop signs, don't signal, don't follow the rules of the road, and cut in front of drivers while in the right lane to make a left turn. I agree that bicycling is good for people, that it is ecologically prudent, that it saves money, and that it is good for one's mental health. But follow the rules of the road before you complain about motorists. Thus the irony of that photo."
Fair comment, though it appears the bicyclist in the photo was in the pedestrian crossing, not riding against the traffic. Other readers might say that the photo exactly represents the problem, that there aren't enough bike lanes downtown, so riders have to ride where they can.
And helmets aren't required by law. We get this comment from time to time, that we shouldn't run photos of bicyclists who aren't wearing helmets because it promotes a disregard for safety, but our news photographers show the world as it is, not as we might like it to be.