Help newspaper cover your event

May 29, 2010|By LINDA DUFFIELD

We're at the point in the year where there is a lot going on -- high school and college graduations, Memorial Day observances, Independence Day celebrations, and all sorts of carnivals, festivals, fundraisers and other outdoor activities.

We try to cover as many events as we can, and we do make it to a lot of them.

But the plain truth is, we have only so many reporters and photographers on duty at any one time, and that means there will be events we won't get to.

If we don't make it to your event, that doesn't mean we aren't interested, or that we don't want to provide coverage. It doesn't mean we don't think it's important.

Sometimes we aren't able to show up because, even though we planned to be there, breaking news diverted the staffers who would have handled the coverage.


Other times, especially on a beautiful spring or summer weekend, there might be 15 events in the area, making it mathematically impossible for us to hit them all. Although it's never easy making such decisions, eventually we must select which ones we will cover and which ones we can't.

In some cases, with the help of those involved in the event, we are able to get information in the paper after the fact. To make that happen, event organizers send us photos and information about their events.

A lot of school events are covered that way. Teachers and others are great about providing us with photos of classroom activities, awards ceremonies and other information.

Donations and results of fundraisers frequently are handled that way as well, with the information, and perhaps a photo, provided by someone involved in the event.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you're planning an event you would like us to cover.

o Let us know a few weeks ahead of time about the event. The earlier we have information, the more efficient we can be in planning.

o Provide all the information you feel is important about the event. Having details helps us make informed decisions about coverage.

o Make sure to include a time span for an event. It's good to know how long something will last in case a photographer or reporter is running late or has two events to cover at about the same time.

o Provide a contact number, especially for outside events. If it's raining, we need a way to find out if the event has been postponed. A work number probably won't be helpful for a weekend event, unless someone who can provide information will be available. Cell phone numbers generally are more useful.

o If we don't get to your event, consider providing information after the fact. A well-written release that includes details about a fundraiser, for instance, can get across the point as well as a staff-written story. Send along a photo of the check presentation and make sure to identify everyone in the photo.

o Be understanding if we edit your submission. Much of what we receive is edited for length, because we do have space considerations, and style. We strive to do that without blurring the message.

It's good to know to whom you should mail or e-mail information.

o If you want something covered from Sunday through Friday, I'm the one you want to contact. You can reach me at 301-791-7591 or by e-mailing me at">

o If your event is happening on a Saturday, provide the information to editor Tim Shea at">

o If it's news from Pennsylvania or West Virginia, contact Tri-State Editor Bill Kohler at 301-791-7281, or e-mail him at">

o If it's advance coverage you want, you can have your event listed on one of our in-paper calendars by e-mailing Crystal Schelle in Lifestyle at">

o You can post all of your events ahead of time on our online calendar. Just go to and click on THECalendar on the light blue bar at the top of the page. That will take you a page where down the left side you will see "add an event." Click on that and you can sign up for a free account that will enable you to list your event.

Don't hesitate to call or e-mail me if you have a question about whom to contact. I'll be happy to direct your information to the appropriate editor.

Linda Duffield is city editor of The Herald-Mail.

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