There are many ways to get your news in the paper

October 12, 2003|by LIZ THOMPSON

Last week, a woman came into our offices on Summit Avenue and wanted to know how to get information about her organization into the newspaper.

Many of our questions from readers come in the form of e-mails or via telephone calls, but at least several times a week people stop in our offices to see an editor or a reporter.

Most of the time when that happens, unless the person is very specific about their question or they ask for someone by name, I get a call from one of our receptionists asking me to come to the lobby to meet with someone.

The person may be dropping off a press release and wants someone to read it over and make sure there are no questions. Sometimes, people come into our building with a story idea they want to share with a reporter or editor. Or, as in the case of the woman who came to see me, they may want to know how to send us information regularly for a civic organization or local group.


I went to the lobby to meet with her and explained the different ways she could send us information. When we were finished she said, "That was easy. You're not so scary."

There are times the reporters who work for me might argue that point, but, in fact, we aren't that scary, and getting information into the newspaper is a fairly simple process.

She said she was a little intimated after her group asked her to handle publicity because she expected it to be more complicated or for us to have more demands about the way information is submitted. After talking with me, she felt more confident about her ability to do the job for her organization even though she had never sent information before. She's right.

Basically: Information needs to be in writing and can be e-mailed (, faxed (301-714-0245), mailed (P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, Md. 21741) or dropped off (100 Summit Ave.).

If you are publicizing an upcoming event, it should be delivered to us at least two weeks before the event is to take place. Any information sent in should always include a name and phone number of someone we can contact if we have questions.

We print information about upcoming events or information and photographs about events that have already taken place. If you send us a photograph, you need to identify everyone in the picture in the order they are pictured by their first and last names.

We accept photographs via e-mail or we accept prints. Digital pictures printed out on ordinary copy paper will not reproduce well. We usually will not use photographs of that quality.

Digital pictures printed on photograph paper often reproduce and we would probably use those.

If you don't want to e-mail, fax or mail in your information, you certainly may stop in our offices. Please know in advance, however, that we aren't set up to meet with you privately.

That often surprises people who come in to talk about a story idea.

There is one conference room in the newsroom and that is usually in use. Reporters and most editors do not have offices. We share one large room separated in certain areas by 5-foot dividers. My desk is in the area used by the reporters.

If you want to talk with me privately, I recommend that you call me.

Liz Thompson is city editor at The Herald-Mail. She can be contacted at 301-733-5131, extension 7682, or by e-mail at

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