To get an article in our paper, here are a few tips.
• Put “Re” in the subject line or the spam blocker will eat it.
• Put opinon or letter in the sujbect line if you’re expressing an opinion
• The soooner you sent it to us, the better your chances of getting in. For the Sun, the best chance is to send your articles or photos by 5 p.m., on Monday. We produce multiple newspapers out of this office. We don’t wish to be inflexible, but we kinda have to be insistent about meeting deadlines in order to function.
• If your submission comes in Tuesday or Wednesday, your chances of getting in radically decrease. Why gamble?
• If your event starts on a Monday and we don’t get your artcile before Thursday, the article will not appear before your event.
• Don’t send us an article 6 months prior to the event. (People really do this.) We won’t remember 6 months later.
• We appear on stands on Thursdays. Your best bet is to submit stories and photos one or two issues prior to the date of your event. This gives you (and us) a margin for error and still give you with time to get your publicity.
• Email the submission to both editors. One email might fail. It’s unlikely both will. The addresses are: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
• Please send your article in a Word file or paste it into the letter. PDFs can sometimes be challenging to convert into other formats. Under the best of circumstances, I need at least two programs to convert your PDF into something we can use in our publishing software. The longer it takes us to edit your submission, the less time we’ll have for someone else’s submission.
• Keep your articles short: 600-800 words. Keep your sentences short.
The shorter the sentence, the easier the edit. The shorter the article, the easier the edit.
• Start with the important information. If you have an event next Saturday and you put the time and place in the last 100 words of a 1,000 article, the reader will never see the time and place.
• Don’t try to impress people with your vocabulary. If readers have to grab a dictionary to look up a word in your article, they will simply move on to another article.
• Put your name on the story. Stories with bylines are more likely to impress people than stories without.
• Include the important information. I once received a press release about a symposium on domestic violence. But the writer was so preoccupied with telling readers that domestic violence is an important subject—at least once a paragraph—that the writer left out the time, date, and location of this important event.
Fortunately, the writer included a telephone number so I was able to get that information. Otherwise, the article would not have been published.
• Include the day of the week with the date. If the date and day of the week don’t match, it’s a red flag.
• Send no more than three or four photos. We don’t have time to wade through a lot of them.
• Photos should be 1MB in size. Send them separately if you must. About photos: people are more interesting than things. Action shots of people are more interesting than people standing side by side. People like photos of kids. People like photos of animals.
• Send a color photo. We can convert color photos to black-and-white.
• I can’t promise pubication in advance.
Charles M. Kelly is associate editor of the Sun.