Update (5/12/22, 9:57 p.m.): We incorrectly stated that Nancy Vaughan reached out to us to buy the ad. In fact, we reached out to candidates about buying ads. Vaughan also paid $1800 for three weeks, not the aforementioned $650 per week. We apologize for the initial error.

We made a mistake, and we are sorry.

For the last three weeks, there has been an advertisement on the front cover of our paper. It is a political campaign ad for incumbent Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan. And although the advertisement space has been a part of our media kit since 2014 and was available to any political candidate, we now see that a political ad on the cover of our paper looks like an endorsement, which is something we don’t do. It was not our intent, but our intent is not the point.

We want to thank the many people who expressed their concerns to help us understand where we went wrong. Given these concerns, we have changed our policy.

Moving forward, Triad City Beat will not sell front-page ads during election seasons to any political entity.

Since our founding in 2014 we have not done political endorsements and we likely never will. We believe if we do thorough reporting, our readers can decide for themselves how to cast their vote. Given this longstanding policy, it was hypocritical and misleading to allow any candidate to buy that space.

Here are the facts:

  • On April 27, the day before our 2022 Election Guide hit the streets, incumbent mayor Nancy bought the front-page ad space for $600 a week for three weeks. We said yes. While $600 may not seem like a lot, for a small paper like ours, it adds up when our print cost is on average $800 per week.
  • The ad contract ran for three weeks (including in this week’s print edition) and will not be on the cover starting next week, May 19.
  • Nancy Vaughan reached out recently to run an ad on the front page in July, but we explained our new policy and offered different options including the back page ad, which will remain as an option.
  • We have had the front-page ad in our media kit since 2014, and it has been bought by a political candidate in the past.

Even with these facts, our decision to run the ad was incorrect, especially in a hotly contested race like this year’s Greensboro mayoral race, and particularly when coupled with a news piece that is critical of Vaughan’s opponent, Justin Outling.

Even at a small paper like ours, the editorial department, run by Managing Editor Sayaka Matsuoka, operates independently from the sales department, run by Brian Clarey. Ads never dictate the stories we run. However, this ad undermined the work that we do and the trust that we have developed over time with our readers.

Ever since our founding and now more than ever, we seek to be a paper that works closely with the community to hold the powerful accountable, to shine a light on systems of injustice and to disrupt the status quo. That is and will continue to be our mission.

Lastly, we want to apologize to our writers, who all work for us on a freelance basis, for any discomfort this caused them. Their work is invaluable to us and to the community, and we put their credibility on the line.

As part of this process, we will be rethinking and retooling our mission statement so mistakes like this don’t happen in the future. We’re not perfect, but we can and will do better. Thank you for holding us accountable to this community. We do this work for you, because otherwise, what is the point?

For additional questions and comments, reach out to us via email or social media. We’re around. As always, thanks for reading.

Sayaka Matsuoka, Managing editor

[email protected]

Brian Clarey, Editor-in-chief & publisher
[email protected]

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