The New York Times‘ opinion section will open up its endorsement process, with plans to reveal its selection for the Democratic nomination on its FX and Hulu series The Weekly on January 19, two weeks before the Iowa caucus.
The Times also will record and film interviews with the Democratic candidates as they meet with the editorial board, and portions of the sessions and the board’s deliberations will be shown on the TV series.
Katie Kingsbury, the Times‘ deputy editorial page editor, announced their plans in a note to staff on Monday.
“The endorsement process is an opportunity to ask hard questions and to engage candidates in the kind of prolonged back-and-forth that reveals insights voters aren’t always privy to but have a right to know,” she wrote. “These illuminating endorsement interviews have historically happened behind closed doors, so we’ve decided to experiment with a new level of openness.”
Kingsbury wrote that transcripts of the interviews with the candidates will be posted online over the next several weeks. The interviewing process will conclude in mid-December.
“Though we each bring a different perspective to these interviews, all of us have done our homework, down to talking to voters at Iowa fish fries and spending hours combing through candidates’ records and policy papers,” Kingsbury wrote. “We’ve also invited a few other writers and editors from our Opinion pages to join the interviews to add to the board’s expertise in specific areas.”
James Bennet, the editorial page editor, is not participating in the endorsement, as his brother, Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO), is among the Democratic contenders.
After the endorsement is revealed on The Weekly, the written editorial will be posted only shortly afterward, and in print on January 20. Politico first reported on NYT‘s plans.
“This more open endorsement process is something we’re excited to try, but if it doesn’t work out, we may decide to take a different approach in the general election,” she wrote. “That decision will hinge on how readers respond to this transparency — whether they find it informative or overwhelming.”