Thursday, November 30, 2006

Survey gives tips on story submissions

The best way to get your articles, releases, events and news stories in print is to do everything possible to make life easier for the local editor or reporter.

That means well-written, concise submissions that emphasize a local connection and news copy that does not need a lot of editing.

According to a survey I conducted in 2002 with local newspaper editors, the next most important thing to do is to meet deadlines.

If you represent an organization or business that will be making regular submissions to a media outlet, I recommend meeting with the editor or beat reporter to ask about deadlines. It is also a good idea to ask about personal preferences regarding submissions and delivery methods.

It is always best to submit typed articles. If you have to submit something that is hand-written make sure it is legible. The editor must be able to read it in order to use it. Either way, making the release timely is vital.

In this MU Extension survey, editors also suggested letting the local newspaper know at least a week in advance if something notable will be happening. It is also a good idea to find out what topics interest your local editor and to respect the editor’s local news judgment.

Stay in touch with the local editor, don't just call when you need a favor or have a complaint. At the same time, remember that editors have other stories to work on.

Five other suggestions from local editors: use statistics when possible, provide strong local content, use "bullets" to attract interest, list sources and alternative sources for follow-up, and consider doing follow-up stories on events.

Especially with weekly newspapers, Monday is typically the busiest day of the week. Avoid going by or delivering information on Monday if at all possible.


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