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Editorial Guidelines

Readers can refer to these guidelines to understand our criticisms and the solutions we seek. Although some of the subjects covered are outside the function of the Newton city government, these guidelines explain how and why we cover stories the way we do — the context for our content.

A producer of news and information will be judged by its:

  • Selection of topics
  • Distribution of concerns
  • Emphasis
  • Framing of issues
  • Filtering of information
  • Bounding of debate
  • Closeness to power
  • Funding scheme

General guidelines and inspiration#

“Strong people don’t need strong leaders.” —Ella Baker

Public control for the public good.

Specific targets, specific demands.

Fight centralized power, not factionalized power.

Prevention and understanding are more important than punishment.1

Democracy and elections#

To maximize democratic control, we defend:

  1. citizenship rights for all persons in the US,
  2. auto-registration for all age-eligible voters,
  3. a national voting holiday,
  4. voting by paper ballot only (no electronic voting),
  5. a ranked-choice (or instant-runoff) voting standard for all elections for office,
  6. and a legally-binding None of the Above option for all elections for national office.

War and militarism#

  1. We condemn state violence and the widespread acceptance of state monopoly on violence. We support global cooperation on military disarmament, and in particular a ban on weapons exports by the US. We support the abolition of “special operations,” war, and preparations for war.
  2. We condemn “regime change” of any kind, public or clandestine.
  3. We celebrate citizens who perform the day-to-day work of running the country (such as postal carriers, service employees, teachers, and whistle blowers and others) and who do so without exercising state violence. We condemn patriotism and hero worship of any kind (especially worship of heroes with guns), including for soldiers, former soldiers (or “veterans”), and police.

Climate and energy#

  1. We endorse rapid scaling of decentralized renewable energy and energy efficient retrofitting for all habitable structures.
  2. We condemn continued monetary and structural investment in traditional energy production: nuclear, coal, oil, natural gas (including hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”), and hydroelectric.

Education#

  1. We endorse a public education system free from birth to death for all persons in the US. We condemn private schooling and the regional property tax funding scheme for public education.
  2. We defend that the quality of human living conditions is determined not by degree of scientific and technological sophistication, but by relative power among citizens and the distribution of resources (i.e. how fair a society is). Science and high technology industries create more problems (both long-term and unintended) than they solve.2
  3. We prioritize fundamentals for the population over specialized education and research for the few; cooperation over competition.
  4. We endorse a restructuring of education in the US that: (1) removes it from the market economy, (2) reforms k-12 education to be more rigorous with minimal teacher-to-student ratios, (3) and replaces the graduate school-doctoral-Ph.D model with a vocational model that meets public needs.

Economy and politics#

  1. We defend worker unionization by majority sign-up (or card check), worker-owned businesses (or co-ops), and public banking. We condemn investors rights agreements (or “trade agreements”) and the “gig-economy” employment model. Global corporatism and the consolidation of industry and services endanger the worker economy and expose it to speculative financial markets (and their cycles of growth and crash).
  2. “Public-private partnerships” (or P3s) welcome needless conflicts of interest between government and private capital (despite the many assurances provided by interested parties and captured intellectuals). Constraints on public borrowing can be reformed, while profit motive and high costs for design, management, and transactions cannot be reformed (at least not without eliminating the need for private capital altogether).

Police and state authority#

  1. We report on institutional and public crime over petty and interpersonal and violent crime.
  2. We defend enhanced Miranda rights and citizen control over the public safety (much like school boards for public schools, whose legitimacy is widely accepted among the public).
  3. We condemn mass surveillance and the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (or FISA Court), state murder (capital punishment or the death penalty), and all prison labor (or convict leasing).

Change log#

Citations#