Thursday, December 18, 2008
An error - four of them, actually - in Tuesday's newspaper reminded me how important the Happenings page is to our readers.
In case you didn't notice, four pages from Tuesday's Craig Daily Press ended up in the Steamboat Today. One of the affected pages was page 7, generally referred to as "Happenings" for its listing of upcoming local events.
The Happenings page also is home to memorial service and death notices, and for two weeks each December, it's where we publish the daily clues for the Yule Log hunt. It's as well-read as any page in the newspaper, and I think readers enjoy its community bulletin board feel.
Which is to say they're a little perturbed when they find it missing from their Steamboat Today. By 8 a.m. Tuesday, I had received several voice mail messages and a couple of e-mails about the missing Yule Log clues. The feedback from readers continued throughout the day.
After six years at the Steamboat Pilot & Today, I've learned that we receive more feedback and submissions for the Happenings page than any other section of the newspaper. It's the easiest and most direct way for readers to learn about community events, and it's a place for community members to submit event information free of charge. The following are some Happenings submission guidelines worth repeating:
- Happenings submissions should be short and to the point. Aim for 50 words or less, and think about the four W's and an H: Who, What, When, Where and How Much? Staff likely will edit Happenings submissions longer than 50 words.
- When penning your Happenings entry, take a look at the general formula of other entries. You'll notice event details typically are listed in this order: time, date and place.
- Preference always is given to events sponsored by nonprofit organizations. Happenings entries also should have broad community appeal. If an item seems like it's more appropriate for a paid advertisement than a free community listing, you're probably right.
- Always include the cost of the event and contact information for readers who want to follow up for more details.
- We almost never include events that take place outside of Routt County.
- Happenings events appear in chronological order and are kept in a single document that is updated daily. We cannot accommodate requests to run Happenings events on particular days, nor can we guarantee that an event will be published multiple days in advance.
- Sending entries to firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to ensure they'll be processed in a timely manner.
- City Editor Mike Lawrence is in charge of Happenings. He can be reached at 970-871-4221. E-mails sent to happenings@ steamboatpilot.com go directly to him. Mike works Tuesday through Saturday. I take care of Happenings on Mondays. Entries sent Saturday afternoon or Sunday won't be received until Monday morning and thus won't appear in Monday's paper.
As a community newspaper, we take pride in being able to dedicate editorial space for free Happenings listings. Don't hesitate to contact me with comments and suggestions. I can be reached at 970-871-4221 or email@example.com.