Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dealing with media requires its own fluency

Since July 2008, I’ve been in charge of publicity for the Tenacious Talkers, local club 8731 of Toastmasters International. I’ve submitted several press releases about our club’s activities.

Setting aside my familiarity with newsroom operations, one of the things that made my publicist job easy was that it came with an officer’s manual. I frequently wish that more of the people who submit publicity to the newspaper had the advantage of media fluency. It can be summed up in four basic rules:

* As a publicist, it is my first responsibility to accurately compile an up-to-date media list. Substitute my particular club with any other club, church or group and that expectation remains the same.

Using, as an example, the publications of Lake County Publishing:

Letters to the editor that express an opinion should be sent to

The majority of submissions to the Lake County Record-Bee fall under “community news.” These include calendar listings, general announcements and thank-you letters. Your contact will be

Other articles may apply to themed “focus” pages such as Business, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Spirituality and Health. In this case, please send publicity to

Do you also want your article or letter to appear in the Clear Lake Observer American? Please also submit your publicity to

Whatever you do, when researching your contacts, don’t ask somebody unconnected with the newspaper. Believe it or not, this actually happens -- and with typically wrong results.

* The No. 2 rule for a publicist, right behind the contact list, involves the submission guidelines. Please adhere to any word limit or style format that the publication has set. Reneé Lopez’s recent guest column in the Record-Bee addressed this subject in greater depth.

E-mailed submissions have an advantage of quick turnaround because they do not involve manual input by newsroom staff.

You don’t have to own a computer to have access to the Internet. When I was going to school at Sonoma State University, I was able to go online via computers in the college library and the campus computer lab. I was also able to sign up for a free e-mail account through an online provider.

Internet access is available for free at the branches of our local public library.

But for those of you without access to the Internet, please mail news releases to the Lake County Record-Bee, 2150 S. Main St. in Lakeport, CA 95453. Put it to someone’s attention if known or specify the type of article. Please understand, however, that if we have to scan or type your copy, it may be subject to delay.

* The third rule involves follow-up. When you call and ask about your article, please understand that we cannot guarantee a specific publication date. Size of the paper influences our ability, as does the number of articles competing for available space.

If you require a guarantee as to the date(s) and frequency that your submission will appear, you may wish to purchase an ad.

If you want to determine afterward whether a submission has run, you can browse our papers at your local public library or in our lobby at the newspaper plant. Best of all, you could be a paying subscriber and receive every issue right at your door.

* Fourth and final rule is that if you want copies of the newspaper in which your article appeared, don’t ask to be given them for free. Be willing to purchase the newspaper. To subscribe to the Record-Bee or the Observer American, contact Circuation at (707) 263-5636 (Jim Davis, ext. 18; Traci Munion, ext. 19; or Greg DeBoth at ext. 12).

Originally published Oct. 21, 2008 in the Lake County Record-Bee.
Contact information updated May 8, 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment

Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.