Getting news in the paper
One of the most frequent questions we receive here at the Pioneer comes from groups and organizations wondering how to get information about their events into the newspaper.
Recently, in preparation for a meeting with a group of directors for volunteer services in our community, I put together a tip sheet to help them - and the Pioneer staff - get information into the paper.
Our aim is to put news about events into the paper in advance so readers can plan their days, nights and weekends.
So, what types of events and information will we print?
Our focus is on newsworthy events - those generating wide community interest or important notices the community needs to know. Many of them tend to be free to the public or offered by nonprofit and public agencies.
Examples might include a community parade, a nonprofit hosting a fundraising event or a benefit to raise money to help offset medical costs.
The newspaper aims to steer clear of publishing items that are promotional or with a clear money-making purpose. That's when the newsroom directs businesses to the Pioneer's advertising representatives.
Publishing details about public events is a service to our readers, who look to the Pioneer to find out what is going on in their community.
Of course, there are some basics like the five Ws and H: who, what, when, where, why and how.
It also helps if the person submitting the event provides contact information, both for our use and the public, to allow for follow-up questions.
There are some other things to keep in mind.
Remember, we have deadlines, and a limited staff. The more lead time we have, the better we can handle your request.
News releases are most easily processed through email, which allows us to quickly work with the information.
Send news releases to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can fax releases to 333-9819 or mail/drop off at 1320 Neilson Ave. SE, Bemidji, MN, 56601.
Generally, we print advance notices of events once. On occasion, we may opt to write a story in advance, depending on the event, community interest, past participation, staff schedules, space in the paper and any number of other factors.
If the event is open to the public, or qualifies as a nonprofit group, we also may include it in North Country Scene, our daily calendar. Also, feel free to request the listing. Calendar and briefs in the paper often are limited to events for nonprofits, those that generate significant community interest or information the public should know, such as when the food shelf will be open or a government agency is meeting.
On a similar note, we have deadlines for specialty pages like Expressions, Faith, Outdoors, Living and Business.
For art-related items, the deadline is 5 p.m. Monday for Thursday's Expressions page. Church-related items are due by 5 p.m. Tuesday for Friday's Faith page.
The deadline for engagements, wedding announcements, anniversaries, retirement announcements and other Living section items is 5 p.m. the Wednesday before the desired Sunday print date. The same deadline applies to new hires and promotions for the Business page.
All of these items, along with story tips or ideas you may have, can be sent to email@example.com.
Steve Wagner is editor of the Bemidji Pioneer.