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Vacationers take paper globetrotting

August 17, 2003|by Tony Mulieri

When you begin a new project, your hope is that it gets off to a good start.

That's what we were thinking when we ran the first announcement of our "Take Us On Vacation With You" promotion in the paper in May.

We invited readers to take The Daily Mail, our afternoon paper, on vacation and told them if they had their photo taken with the paper in clear view, we'd run that photo upon their return.

OK, a few weeks went by and we didn't hear anything. It was early, school was still in session.

And then it happened.

Pam and Jim Pendleton of Hagerstown showed up at the front desk in early June and really got the ball rolling. We ran their photo on the front page on June 10.

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It was a classic.

It showed them outside their hotel in Zermatt, Switzerland, and the Matterhorn was in the background. What made the photo even better was that Bennie, the hotel's Saint Bernard, was in the photo with them. And they remembered to take The Daily Mail along.

I never thought I'd see the Matterhorn on the front page of The Daily Mail.

But there it was in full color.

What a start to our promotion.

And then, when we didn't think it could get any better, Jim Stone, a local attorney, showed up at the front desk with a photo that simply floored me.

He and his friends traveled to Belize, Central America, for some scuba diving in the waters off the island.

Not only did they remember to pack The Daily Mail, but they had the newspaper laminated, of all things.

The photo showed the divers 40 feet underwater, holding the newspaper.

We must be living right.

Those two photos really set the tone, and we've been deluged with pictures ever since.

What's surprised me even more is some of the faraway places that our readers visit. The Daily Mail has been taken to some pretty cool places.

I feel like I should get some residual frequent-flyer mileage.

I've been amazed by the number of readers who have remembered to take The Daily Mail on vacation. To be honest, I don't know if I would remember to pack the paper, and I have a few of them stacked up around the office and my home.

As with any new thing, there have been a few glitches with this promotion. Some readers took The Morning Herald along and some took The Herald-Mail editions. Some of those photos ran in The Morning Herald on Wednesday. You may have seen them.

I want to apologize to anyone who didn't get to submit their photo. Some readers were turned away before it was decided to run some of the Herald photos in the morning paper.

There's always a learning curve when you start something new and we'll have to revisit this promotion if we decide to do it again next year.

But in the meantime, it's been fun seeing all of the photos come in and the unique way some of them have been staged.

I used to kid my children when they were younger when they asked me where we were going on vacation. I used to tell them Funkstown.

They didn't think that was very funny.

I don't think they could have gotten their photo in the paper vacationing in Funkstown.

I don't think they have a Matterhorn there.

Tony Mulieri is managing editor of The Daily Mail. He can be contacted at 301-722-5131, extension 7647, or by e-mail at tonym@herald-mail.com.

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