Sun Staff Report
LOWELL -- With the 6th Congressional District race generating widespread state and national interest, The Sun and The Salem Evening News have joined forces to co-sponsor two debates between the candidates.
The Sun will host a debate for Democratic primary candidates on Thursday, Aug. 14, at Middlesex Community College's Bedford campus.
The Evening News will host a general election debate, a date and time to be determined prior to the Nov. 4 election. The location will be in Peabody.
Both events are open to the public.
U.S. Rep. John F. Tierney, a nine-term incumbent from Salem, faces a tight challenge within his own Democratic party after narrowly defeating Republican Richard Tisei in the 2012 general election contest.
The winner of the Sept. 9 Democratic primary will meet Tisei in the fall general election.
The historic collaboration brings together dominant community newspapers in their respective markets, which span the 6th District and its two counties, Essex and Middlesex.
"The Sixth is one of the most diverse districts in the state," said David Olson, editor of The Salem Evening News. "It has strong, growing immigrant populations and old New England small towns. It's a center for industries as old as commercial fishing and as new as biotech.
The Salem Evening News, owned by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., is the leading print and digital-news operation on the North Shore. Its core communities, all in the 6th District, include Danvers, Beverly, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott.
Its sister newspapers are the Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, the Gloucester Daily Times, and The Daily News of Newburyport, all of which cover 6th District communities.
The Sun, owned by Digital First Media, serves 14 core communities in the Merrimack Valley, including 6th District towns of Bedford, Burlington, Billerica, Tewksbury and Wilmington.
Jim Campanini, The Sun's editor, said he and Olson have been working on a collaboration idea since late May.
"This is a key congressional race being covered by two great community newspapers. I approached David and told him that the district's voters would benefit immensely from a joint effort and he agreed," said Campanini.
In addition, the newspapers are working on a plan to potentially share stories and digital content concerning the race. Tentative plans call for two 75-minute debates in which the candidates will be asked questions from a three-member media panel. Editors Campanini and Olson will serve as moderators.