Newspapers simply can't cover every newsworthy event that happens in communities. Many newspapers, especially small-circulation weeklies and dailies, rely on article submissions from readers to bridge the day-to-day news coverage. Even so, newsrooms receive a voluminous amount of e-mail, snail mail and faxes each day, and it's easy for a message or letter to get lost. Making personal contact is the best way to get started when submitting a news article for publication.
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Call the newspaper's general newsroom and ask how the editors prefer to receive submissions. The newsroom phone number is often listed in newspaper print editions and websites. Many newspapers prefer to receive queries by e-mail but will also accept submissions by fax and mail. Briefly describe your submission and ask who should receive it.
Clearly state in your article why the subject is important. Many newspaper articles follow a standard formula, telling the reader in the first paragraph why the story is important. The editor who first picks up your article submission should be able to figure out immediately what the story is about, who is affected, and when and where it occurred.
Tailor the article toward the newspaper's audience. Most newspapers of general circulation focus on a geographical region, so point out when there's an item of local significance.
Ask a friend or colleague to proofread the article. Don't forget to spell check.
Write a brief cover letter, explaining why the newspaper should publish your article. Clearly state in the letter that you give the newspaper permission to publish the content. Indicate if you have photos or other images available. Don't forget to include your contact information.
Send your article using the newspaper's preferred method.
Call the newsroom again to ensure the article was received especially if the content is time sensitive. If it's not time sensitive, follow up in a day or two. Ask when the article may be published.
Tips and warnings
- Follow the Associated Press Stylebook. Many newspapers have adopted the Associated Press' style guidelines as a way to ensure consistency of the content. AP Stylebooks are available in print and in online formats.
- Smaller-circulation daily and weekly newspapers will be more likely to publish your content than larger metropolitan publications, especially if the content of the article has a local relevance to the newspaper's readers.
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