Journalist wins school board seat with 24-hour write-in campaign on Facebook

South Jersey Times online editor Jim Cook Jr. noticed there was only one candidate running for the Woodstown-Pilesgrove school board, so he “half-jokingly” encouraged his Facebook friends to write him in.

“My first post went up around 10:30 p.m. Monday night [Nov. 5], and my last went up less than 24 hours later,” he writes. “Eight posts total, asking for votes.” (He also had a little Twitter campaign going.)

Cook ended up winning a three-year term — but he couldn’t accept the job. (That’s him jumping for joy in the newsroom after learning that he’d won.)

Cook

I wish I could, but I have to take the ethical route here and make the best decision for my career and the South Jersey Times — a job and company too close to my heart to put in jeopardy.

In my field of work, it is of the utmost importance that a reporter or editor does not serve on any elected position in politics. Objectivity is the basis of our dedication to local journalism in South Jersey. That can’t be hindered. If I accepted the position, I would have to resign from a job that I worked too hard to get and feel too passionate about to give up.

“I hope I haven’t let you down, and I’m sorry I cannot accept this position,” he tells his backers. “I can, however, throw a victory party. And you’re all invited.”

* How I won an election by only using Facebook (nj.com)
* Cook on Facebook and Twitter

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