Piece of Mind: Get your place in The Sun

With the summer behind us, school, civic and social events around town are beginning to crowd the calendars of La Cañadans of all ages and descriptions. Our PTA leaders and their committee chairs are busy planning fundraising events, as are many other local clubs and nonprofit organizations.

So it's about time we revisit the concern that's surely burning in the minds of all newly assigned publicity chairmen in town: how to best use the community paper to get word out about an activity that's coming up.

All of our local organizations deserve the best publicity they can get. It's my hope to be of help to you in that endeavor.

By the way, I think there should be a special reward for those who take on the job of getting the word out. Especially in the case of larger groups, it can be a challenge to gather all of the pertinent information from the many people involved in a project and then present it in one coherent press release that makes everyone happy. That's why I stand ready to lend a hand, if you need it.

I'll leave it to you to decide the structure of your press release, but if I might offer a suggestion: Be as concise as possible while providing us with the basics. We want to know who, what, where, when and why of an event. And, if admission fees are involved, we need the cost of tickets and information on how people might purchase them. Accurate spelling is a must, especially of names. It's also essential that we're given contact information for people we can speak to if we have questions.

Almost all of the press releases we receive today are emailed in (lcnews@valleysun.net), and that is the delivery method we prefer. If you walk something on hardcopy in the door (727 Foothill Blvd.) it might take a little longer for us to get it into our system.

We also welcome a photo to go with your release. Please be sure to identify everyone in it, from left to right. Again, spelling is of utmost importance. Don't wing it by guessing the spelling of the name of a person in your photo. Double-check it before giving it to the newspaper. And please let us know who should be given credit for that photo so that we can include it with our caption information.

Let's talk deadlines. I know, I don't like the word “deadline” any more than I embrace the word “budget.” But deadlines are a must. Otherwise, we might not get Thursday's paper printed until Saturday. That wouldn't be good. So, if you are hoping that an item you're submitting gets into the Valley Sun on a particular Thursday, please have it in our hands by the Friday before that publication date.

As you might guess, while our print space is finite, the needs of our local groups seem nearly infinite. We can't promise that an item will run on the hoped-for date because it depends on how many other publicity chairmen have beaten you to our inbox, and how much space we've been allotted. But we do the best we can for the desired outcome.

That's it for the print edition rules. Pretty simple. But wait, there's more! In addition to our newspapers, we have a community blog on our website that representatives of nonprofits (we're talking about people like PTA parents, Kiwanis leaders, LCF Chamber of Commerce office staff and Thursday Club women) can take advantage of. You are in complete control on your blog posting; no nit-picking editor is involved. And this blog appears on all of the Times Community Newspaper North websites (Valley Sun, Pasadena Sun, Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader). Talk about getting the word out about your fundraiser! Is your interest piqued? Visit www.lacanadaonline.com, find the word “community” on our navigation bar there, then scroll to “public blog.” You'll find instructions and rules there. It's easy-peasy.

Good luck. Now let those press releases flow so your group will have its well-deserved place in The Sun.

CAROL CORMACI is the managing editor. Email her at carol.cormaci@latimes.com.

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