A graduate in the family deserves recognition and one of the potential places for that acknowledgement is the local newspaper. You'll increase your chances of getting a graduation notice printed if you follow a few basic guidelines. A little research now will reduce frustration later. Remember to play up the local angle in your text to maximise your chances of acceptance.
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Check the masthead of the local newspaper or its website for the proper address to submit an announcement. Look for categories like "Press Releases," "Local Interest," or "Announcements." Don't be afraid to call and ask, if necessary.
Look up past graduation announcements in the paper's archives. Gather a list of the information points that got printed. Use those points to begin your draft.
Get the full names of the school, the degree or diploma, the presenting official and the graduate. You'll also need the date and location of the ceremony and any honours earned by the graduate. Don't forget the local connection, such as the graduate's parents' names.
Look for a human interest angle. If the grad played first chair oboe in the concert band while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, mention it. Add club affiliations, offices held, any future plans he may wish to share and the names of any notables at the ceremony.
Put together a first draft and then put it aside for a day or two. Reread it then and make any edits you feel will improve the document.
Have someone you trust look over the draft. A second pair of eyes often can catch errors the writer missed.
Prepare the final document. Include your full name and contact information in the signature block. Send it the same day as the graduation was held or first thing the next day.
Tips and warnings
- Remember the questions a good press release should answer: Who, What Where, When, How and Why. Provide all these facts in the announcement.
- Proofread everything before you submit it, whether by traditional mail or e-mail. Misspellings and poor grammar decrease the odds of the announcement seeing print. Double check the details included.
- Use the proper file format and size when submitting a photo electronically. Not all papers accept outside photos, so check first.
- If the school doesn't provide a template for an announcement, check the websites of other similar schools for ideas.
- Consider privacy and safety issues when deciding what to include. Don't put anything in the release that you aren't willing to share with the world.
- Some papers charge for announcements. If the local paper charges, be prepared to pay if you want to see the announcement in print.
- Send the information in a timely manner. Newspapers look for news, not past history. A July announcement of a May graduation will be at the bottom of the list for publication.
- Announcements may be edited for space. Don't be surprised if some of your information fails to make the newspaper.
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