Gathering the news in our community
The Sun Advocate is a community newspaper. As such, it is our job to let our readers know what is going on in the community. Once Labor Day is over it seems everything kicks into high gear heading into the fall. School is in session, local athletic teams have intense schedules and every club or organization gets reorganized after a less active summer.
Everyone likes to read about his or her special interest group or team in the community newspaper. You may be planning a benefit or other social event that needs the support of the newspaper. Perhaps it is a community event that your need support from the Sun Advocate while putting the details together.
It never fails as activities and events gear up we get calls after the fact asking why we didn't cover a specific event or take pictures at a favorite function. This is a good reminder that even though an event or activity may have run in FYI or some other location in the newspaper we schedule our photos and articles around the contacts we have and the calls we get. We have a very small editorial staff and although it is difficult at times to cover everything we make sure we are there if prior arrangements are made. It's the people who assume and expect us to intuitively be there when and we had no idea the event was going on that often get irritated.
We are all partners and all have the same goal, to build families and communities. We feel the pages of the newspaper are a perfect place to announce or inform readers about what is happening in Carbon county. I have put together a few basic tips for the organizations and service clubs.
Every club should have a spokesperson or publicity chair. And it is recommended that only one person from your organization be in contact with the staff of the Sun Advocate. With just one contact this eliminates confusion and decreases the risk of errors. There are four of us that cover events. Although we have the community divided up into beats we all cover for each other depending on the timing of the activity.
The chairperson or publicity director who is designated to work with the newspaper should contact myself, the editor, Lynnda Johnson or either of the reporters Richard Shaw or Melanie Steele to coordinate any photos or coverage.
And it's good to know that some requests are considered advertising and just because someone buys advertising space, does not mean that they get extra attention or favors. We have specific policies that have to be met. It is important to work with both departments, advertising and editorial separately. The editorial folks will not be of much assistance with advertising prices or schedules, just as the advertising department isn't always aware of editorial policies and deadlines.
Send your press releases through the mail, drop them off at our office or e-mail them to the person you have made contact with. I would suggest making a contact at the newspaper, rather than sending your release blindly.
Give us some time to coordinate the photo or story. Often we get a call telling us about an event that starts in 10 minutes.
We have created many opportunities for club and organization announcements and follow-ups. We have expanded our Thursday FYI section which now includes photos and also have created focus pages to give the readers more information about the community.
It is also important for you to know the newspaper's deadlines for news and community information.
We are scheduling a meeting in October where all the publicity chair people will be invited to discuss how to prepare news releases and how they can better get information in the newspaper. Keep an eye out for the announcement.
Community news is the cornerstone of the Sun Advocate. It is what separates us from other regional, state or national news mediums. We need news. News about you and your organization.