There has been some confusion recently on how to submit content for publication in Columbia Gorge News — deadlines, protocols, where to send, what to send — and, since this has become something of an issue (for us and for our submitters), I figured it is worth another mention in the column.
Let’s get the big one out of the way first: We go to press Mondays by 4 p.m. for our Wednesday print editions. This is because the paper is printed in Salem, and time must be allowed for it be printed (and ours is not the only publication in that particular line), stuffed with inserts, and sent back to us via truck, which all happens Tuesday morning (knock on wood) in time for us to deliver to the post office, which then delivers to subscribers on Wednesday.
It’s a process is what I’m saying.
Because of this tight deadline for print, we really need press releases the prior Thursday at noon — maybe Friday morning at the very latest. This is because we start putting the paper together in earnest on Fridays. Not the late breaking, front page news stuff, but the inside page, press release stuff.
And because Columbia Gorge News covers five counties, space is at a premium. So the earlier you send it in, the better chance it has of hitting the print edition.
(Worst case scenario: We get it too late to include in the most recent print edition, so it goes online on our website and then we try, if applicable, for the next print date.)
One note that bears repeating: We cannot schedule press releases to run on certain dates. Press releases run as space allows only. If you want guaranteed placement, you will need to take out an ad. Ads can be scheduled. Press releases cannot.
That’s not because we’re trying to be jerks — it’s because as soon as we promise that yes, we can definitely get your press release in on this day!, we get some sort of late ad, or news content, or some such thing, and everything breaks and items must be pulled. (This happens a lot. I know it’s disappointing because my stories also get cut and held for another edition. That’s the reality of print — we are working with a finite space.)
You can send press releases to any member of our staff and we can get them to the right area, but if you really want to make sure you get your submission to the right person (which also means the chances of it being lost or overlooked go down), you can find our individual email addresses on A4 — they’re printed in every edition. Or, take the first name and last initial (i.e. trishaw) and add an @gorgenews.com, and you’re good to go. Or you can send it to our catchall email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
One more thing that increases your chances of making it into print: We need releases sent in Word documents, or pasted into an email. When we attempt to copy and paste the contents of a PDF into InCopy (our word processing system), the formatting gets all weird and it’s frustrating and time consuming to fix. We also need photos that are sent as individual attachments, aka NOT embedded in that Word doc (or worse, that PDF). You can request that we find a photo for you to accompany your press release, but it’s better if you find one and send it along with your submission — it saves time on our end and, since we’re a small staff, etc. etc. etc., that also means it won’t get bumped down our collective to-do lists. (Also, identify any people in that photo and give a short description of what it’s of.)
Things move super fast in a newsroom. My days fly by. This is the fourth story I’ve written today, for example — and I’ve also helped people placing obituaries, typeset police records, and planned out and formatted content for our B section. Anything you provide with your press release that I don’t have to find myself? Is a gift. To me. Because I can process it faster, which again, increases its chances of hitting print in a timely manner.
Let’s review: Send in your press releases early; send them via a Word document or pasted into an email; send your photos as attachments (do not embedded in that Word doc); send them to the correct person; and send them as complete as you can (with cutlines, writer identified and with photos attached).
It sounds complicated, I know, but it’s pretty straightforward. If you have any specific questions regarding press releases, give me a call at 541-386-1234 ext. 109 or email email@example.com, and I can help you sort it out.