Lately, we figure we must be doing something right with the way we cover the news in Belfast and Waldo County. We regularly have people from very different points on the social and political spectrum mad at us. When everyone thinks you're on the side of the people they disagree with — you must be steering a good middle course.

That is a valid yardstick for us because it means that we are not covering the news from a particular point of view, but writing about what happens. If Black Lives Matter supporters stage a protest, we talk to them and write about it. If people opposed to the governor's public health mandates protest, we talk to them and write about it. If Upstream Watch has something to say, we listen. If Nordic Aquafarms takes action, we report on it.

During the election, we wrote about vandalism of Trump signs and vandalism of Black Lives Matter signs. We ran letters supporting all candidates. We rejected letters containing unsupported claims about candidates or personal attacks.

We are committed to the idea that newspapers should reflect the communities they serve -— the good, the bad and the ugly — and save opinion for the editorial pages. We also believe that interpretation is part of our job: to tell you not just what happened, but, as far as we can ascertain, what it means for the lives of people in our county. Our interpretations are not based on our own views, however, but on research and reporting.

When readers are frustrated or annoyed by things they read in the paper, we hope they will let us know. We also hope they will consider that whatever got under their skin may serve the needs of other readers, or give them a voice. In a democratic society, we must allow others the same rights we want for ourselves.

While we want to offer a place for a variety of opinions to be expressed, we also take it as part of our responsibility to counter misinformation with facts, to the best of our ability, and to put information in context. We will not tolerate innuendo, name-calling or the repetition of rumors on our website or our letters page.

Finally, we intend to keep covering the news and the people of Waldo County — from crime to economic development, from human interest to politics and everything in between — and we welcome your constructive criticism, your news tips and, of course, your letters.

We look forward to another year of serving the readers of Waldo County. Happy New Year.


This day in history

Congress set Jan. 7, 1789, as the date by which states were required to choose electors for the country's first-ever presidential election. A month later, on Feb. 4, George Washington was elected president by state electors and sworn into office on April 30, 1789.

As it did in 1789, the United States still uses the Electoral College system, established by the U.S. Constitution, which today gives all American citizens over the age of 18 the right to vote for electors, who in turn vote for the president. The president and vice president are the only elected federal officials chosen by the Electoral College instead of by direct popular vote.

Each state is allowed to choose as many electors as it has senators and representatives in Congress. In a presidential election, voters are actually voting for the electors of the party whose candidate they favor. With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, which award electoral votes proportionally, states award all their electors to the winner of the popular vote in their state. In order to win the presidency, a candidate needs a majority of 270 electoral votes out of a possible 538.