One of the questions that often comes up either when I’m out at events or when someone stops by the office or calls is, “How do I submit to the newspaper?” and also “Can I submit to the newspaper?” What I love about being asked these questions is that almost always the answer is “It’s easy” and “Absolutely.”
I can never stress enough that this is YOUR paper. Being a local weekly paper means that we encourage submissions and want the readers to have as much a part of the paper as they want. This also goes for letting us know about events. It is not always easy to know what people want to read or hear about, which is why reader feedback and participation is an essential part of the paper.
The easiest way to get a submission into the paper is through email. Stopping by the office to drop the information and photos off or mail works, but email is the quickest and easiest way. Submissions should answer who, what, when, where, why and how. Who was involved, what happened, when did this happen, where did this happen, why is this something that the readers should know or be interested in and how did it happen. Submissions do not have to be long.
Photographs are encouraged with submissions. We often try to have at least one photo per article when possible. When taking photographs it is important to make sure that you can see the person’s face and be aware of what is going on in the background. Dark photographs can be difficult to lighten and often times the photo may look great on the computer screen or online, but prints darker in newspaper. When submitting photographs be sure to include all the names in the photo in order (and if printed, please make the handwriting easy to read) with first and last names, ages (mostly for children and birthdays) and where the people live as well as a caption to explain what is going on in the photograph.
Since starting as the editor in March, my goal has been to make sure the paper covers the entire coverage area which includes Hamburg, Schuylkill Valley and Tulpehocken School Districts as well as Blue Mountain Academy and King’s Academy. That is a lot of area to cover. It is with the help of the readers that we are able to find out about events and either find someone to cover them or receive pictures and information that we can use.
Submissions, story ideas and events can all be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure that all submissions are in by Friday at 5 p.m. The earlier a submission is in, the easier it is to get it in for the next issue. Had it not been for suggestions from readers, some of my favorite articles this past year would have never been covered.
The Hamburg Area Item is your paper. It is about your children, relatives, businesses, schools, homes and lives. And we are often looking for opinions and reader feedback on our Facebook page, so do not be afraid to comment. I am looking forward to another year of great news coverage and getting to know even more of the readers and what they want to see in the paper.
Shea Singley is the editor of The Hamburg Area Item. She can be reached at email@example.com.