The Times West Virginian

April 29, 2006

News release guidelines


All news releases should have a name and telephone number of the person submitting the information. A release date -- when you would like the information to be published -- is also helpful. Many news releases simply say "For immediate release."



News releases should answer "The Five W's:" Who? What? When? Where? and Why?



Who -- Who's sponsoring the program? Who will speak? Please usethe full name of the organization. Not everyone knows what abbreviations or acronyms (such as DAR, NAACP, WV-COGS) stand for.

What -- What's the purpose of the news item? To publicize a project? To recruit members or volunteers? To announce a visiting speaker?

When -- Be exact. Not just Tuesday afternoon, but 2 p.m. Jan. 25. Always use dates.

Where -- Again, be exact. Include room and street numbers if applicable.

Why -- This generally isn't needed in routine club announcements.

However, if a special meeting is being called, then your release should say why it is being held.



Accuracy

When you submit an announcement or a news release, you are acting as a reporter. We assume you have provided accurate information. Please double check times, dates and phone numbers. Above all, make sure the names in your release are spelled correctly. If the name has an unusual spelling, use the symbol (OK) after the name so we know that the spelling is correct.



Also, please let us know if a meeting has been canceled or its location changed so we can make a correction before your news item appears in print. Please type or print your news releases. Illegible handwriting is a major cause of mistakes.



Deadlines

The newspaper business differs from many others in that it must meet specific deadlines. If you don't meet a deadline, your item may not be published. Deadlines vary for different departments. When in doubt, call the newsroom at 367-2540.



Photographs

The Times West Virginian relies on its staff of photographers when possible to take photographs for news stories. However, submitted photos can sometimes be used. Photos promoting a coming event must be meaningful and visually attractive. Requests for staff photos should be made well in advance of the event.

If you submit a photograph with your news release, please put the name and address of where it should be returned on the back of the photo. In the publishing process, the story and photograph are separated. Without a name on the back of the photograph we have no idea to whom it belongs. And please don't submit a photograph that has a lot of sentimental value to you. There's always a chance that the one photograph we lose will be the one that's irreplaceable to you.