Publicity Guide and Writers Digest
Are you a Publicity Chairman in name only?
"While delving through my files recently, I came across a short article that I clipped from a magazine some time ago, as the article had already turned brown and the paper was crisp," writes NWBW Life Member Pearl Keller, "it evidently impressed me at the time and I thought it might be helpful in the future."
The article, written by author Faith Baldwin, said in part, "I think it is very unfortunate that many women with real writing ability bury that talent under a pile of dishes." She went on to say, "Actually, writing is an ideal profession for women. You don't have to go to an office and you don't have to be away with half your mind on your household.
Don't say, you don't have the time and don't say you could write if you had the time. There are many times during the day or evening when an hour or two can be found - if you really want to write."
It's a wonderful feeling to communicate with others. If even one paragraph you write opens a door for another human being, makes him or her see with your eyes and understand with your mind what you are trying to say, you'll gain a sense of fulfillment that no other work can provide.
Needless to say, Faith Baldwin didn't have bowling writers in mind when she urged women to take up writing. However, the idea is applicable here and the end result can be just as satisfying - if you provide earned recognition for even one bowler who many not otherwise receive it.
As members of the National Women Bowling Writers, the great majority of you carry the title Publicity Chairman, for your association. But, we all know that many, while holding the title, do very little or no writing during the season. It isn't because you don't want to write, but because you don't know how to go about it.
Through the pages of this Publicity Guide, you will find tips on how to get started, how to interview, what to write about, newsletters, using the tools - including your computer and your camera - and more. We hope this guide will help you get started with your publicity efforts, or improve the skills you now possess.
The beauty of being a writer is that you can always write. A few minutes before a meal, just before bed time, on a plane, and even when you're not writing, you can be thinking about what you would like to write.
But, being a writer is more than just saying you're a writer. It means writing, writing and more writing. It means being rebuffed at times. It means disappointment when something you write never sees print. And nothing is lonelier than sitting at a typewriter or computer. Yet, there is no thrill to match seeing your words in print. There is no greater excitement than having a good idea, except for putting it on paper.
Whether you're a publicity chairman whose task is to get some publicity for your organization's events or a professional author who earns a good living, the writing game is the same. The rewards may be an infrequent "thank you" or even monetary, but the biggest reward is the satisfaction of a job well done. So do the best you can by using all the tools at your disposal, and always look ahead.
Basic Story Ideas
While the spirit may be willing, the inexperienced writer may at times be at a loss for something to write about. But, take heart because story ideas abound.
Although it is difficult these days to get bowling news in most of the larger newspapers, many media contacts, if given the appropriate information, would consider these and other bowling topics newsworthy:
- Scoring records
- Honor scores (300, 299, 298 and 700/800 three-game series)
- High season average
- League and tournament champions
- All Star teams, Bowler of the Year, etc.
- Hall of Fame inductions/inductees
- Association meetings
- Association special activities
- Association elections
- Profiles of association leaders and members
- National and state association bowling news
- Senior bowlers
- Youth bowlers
These are the obvious basic ideas for a story. And while they may suggest other ideas to you as well, you may find many novel ideas by reading articles written by excellent writers in the bowling publications, magazines and newspapers. Remember to always ask permission of the writer or publisher when you want to use material written by someone else.
And, if you find your writing well running dry, check these ideas for other interesting story opportunities:
- Stories about handicapped bowlers can arouse the attention of readers but handle these stories with special care and tact. Write about them only with their permission.
- Many leagues give unusual awards for various reasons. These could make a great feature story.
- Odd leagues and various scoring systems and unusual rules.
- The oldest bowler in your area. The oldest bowling center. Leagues that have bowled continuously for many years.
- Bowlers come from all walks of life. Find the most unusual occupations and the most unusual leagues.
- What goes on behind the scenes before a league or tournament begins? Trace the preparations necessary. How about what it takes to successfully operate a bowling center.
- New bowling products, including bowling balls, shoes, bowling center equipment and so on.
- Famous people who bowl.
- Charity and other special events. Bowlers have always been charitable and a story about large sums of money donations can catch the eye of those who aren't always impressed by bowling and bowlers.
Request to be placed on the mailing list for newsletters and releases distributed by Bowling Headquarters and other organizations. Subscribe to bowling magazines. Read and use this material,
With these ideas to help you get started, it won't take long for you to develop a list of story topics.
Collecting the Facts - Interviewing
Research is an important part of a writer's job. And interviewing is a necessary skill. Sometimes it is a tedious job but it must be done. You cannot write a story until you have collected the necessary data.
At times you may be able to gather the facts you need over the telephone or from material found in other publications. Other times, you may find it necessary to interview someone for personal comment and opinion.
Here are a few guidelines you may use to make the interviewing easier and more productive.
- Be assertive, but polite, when requesting interviews.
- Set up and confirm interview times and locations in advance.
- Prepare questions in advance and be sure to include the who, what, where, when and why. You will not use all the material gathered but you can gain a better insight about the person by asking questions about his/her background, family, beliefs, ambitions, etc.
- Research background information on interviewees and relevant topics whenever possible.
- Introduce yourself at the start of each interview and explain that you are the association's publicity chairman. Let the interviewee know what you want to discuss and how the information will be used.
- Help interviewees feel comfortable and at ease.
- Conduct interviews in quiet locations, if possible. Avoid areas where noise and people may be distracting.
- Ask permission before using tape recorders. Bring extra tapes and batteries. Take notes as a backup.
- Ask open-ended questions that require more than "yes" and "no" answers.
- Develop a line of questioning that will keep the person on track.
- If replies are vague, follow up with additional questions until you are satisfied.
- Ask for clarification or examples when needed.
- Don't argue or debate the person you are interviewing. You can probe without being caustic. You can be personal without being nosy.
- Be aware that your own attitudes and prejudices may tend to alter or possibly distort what you hear.
- Make sure you really listen to the answer after you ask a question. Be a good listener.
- Be selective, but don't let your own preconceived ideas limit your quest.
- Read your subject's body language - shrugs, smiles, facial and body positions often speak volumes.
- Ask the interviewee to spell unfamiliar names. When in doubt, double-check spellings with other people or look in the telephone book.
- Ask follow-up questions to obtain more detailed information on interesting points.
- Repeat unclear statements to confirm for accuracy.
- If you use quotes, make sure you quote accurately. Do not take remarks out of context. This can distort the meaning.
- Secure the interviewee's telephone number and ask if you may call later if you have questions.
- Thank the interviewee for his/her time and assistance.
- Go home and type your notes while they're still fresh.
Interviewing is a two way street. You are on one side. Your skill determines how much you gain from the other side.
Contents Basic form of a Story
Every news story has a definite form. While it has a beginning, a middle and an ending, the facts are seldom given in chronological order. Regardless of the time it occurred in a sequence of events, the most important segment of the story comes first. And the remaining facts are presented in a descending order of importance.
As envisioned, the news story takes the form of an inverted triangle. Divided into three sections, the first section should contain the five "W's" - WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY. These are the backbone of any published article. This section is known as the LEAD.
The second section, the BODY of the story, must support the LEAD. Miscellaneous information and details of lesser importance are left to the third section.
There is a particular reason for using this form. It allows the editor to pick up the important facts of the story in the first paragraph. Then, if, for some reason, the editor has to cut a story, it can be cut from the bottom. What remains will still give the reader the essentials of the story.
Writing the Lead
The lead - the first paragraph of your story - is the most important paragraph you will write. It must grab the readers' attention and make them want to keep reading.
As noted, the lead generally sums up what is to follow. But the summary must be worded so that the reader will be enticed into finishing the story.
The idea that the writer should embody the five "W's" is a basic one. But the writer should know that while this is generally true, there are times when one should not attempt to fit all five into one sentence. Such writing, if it is always done, would become dull, stilted and unwieldy.
Obviously, there is a need to include one or more in any lead. But consider first which of the five are the most important. Are the WHO and the WHERE of more importance than the WHAT and WHEN? Or is the WHY most important of all? Which angle of the story are you going to develop? In what direction do you want to lead your readers?
Any ideas you suggest in the lead must be developed and supported in the body of the story.
How long should a lead in a story be? As a rule of thumb, it has been suggested that a lead should include about twenty-five words. But there are always exceptions. While a ten-word lead may best fit one story, it may take fifty words to write another. Whatever the number of words, readability is the first objective. So tell your story simply, smoothly and effectively.
General rules for preparing and writing copy
"Copy" is the term used for all written material submitted to an editor or publisher. The following list of general rules for preparing and writing copy include a number of suggestions made by Lola Yoakem for novice writers in 1948 and others made by Georgia Veatch in the first issue of the Knows for News in 1954. These same general rules apply today.
- Use 81/2 x 11 paper. Type your publicity releases and articles. Indent or tab five spaces at the start of each paragraph. Double space between lines. Leave wide margins all around.
- Mark plainly in the upper left-hand corner of the first page WHAT the article is, WHO is sending it and WHICH organization it concerns. Be sure to include your address, telephone number and date.
- Allow space at the top of the page for a headline to be written by the editor.
- Use simple words. Present the facts as clearly and concisely as you can. Avoid long involved sentences.
- Confine your fact presentation to as few paragraphs as possible. Avoid long rambling paragraphs. Each paragraph should be confined to the exposition of one idea which is the component part of the whole story.
- Avoid over-punctuation. If you are not sure how to punctuate your written copy, use simple phrasing and short sentences.
- Avoid using colloquial expressions, idiomatic phrases and slang in your writing.
- Omit all personal remarks about or to any person or thing that may be construed by your readers as being for or against individuals.
- Indent five spaces and start your article by writing the location of the story (city and state) if it has taken place outside the area considered hometown.
- Always send the original copy to an editor. Keep a copy of everything you send to the editor and place it in a file for reference another time, or in case the original copy is lost.
- Make sure the copy you send is clean. Do not send copies that are erased or heavily marked with corrections.
If the publication does not use your materials, or all of your material, don't be discouraged. Unfortunately, space is not always available for many stories that come into a sports department. And as we know, bowling news is far down on any priority list. Keep trying. Submit proper copy each time and you will improve your chances of acceptance. Remember, if the story is appropriate for other sections of the paper, send it to other departments at the newspaper.
Writing an editorial
Once you have achieved a place in the bowling sun as a bowling writer or columnist, one of your privileges, some consider it a duty, is to write an editorial now and then.
In straight news stories, when you are reporting the results of a league or tournament or an outstanding individual performance, you ordinarily will not interject personal opinions, praise, judgments or evaluations.
However, in an editorial, that's the main idea. If you feel a personal injustice has been done to any person or any group of persons by any individual, group, business or organization, then, by all means, fire with both barrels.
Don't go into any editorial without sufficient facts from both sides of any controversy. Do your research before you go swinging alone.
Research is the most valuable and trustworthy tool of any writer. Research is tedious, at times difficult, but really simple and fascinating. Find the people who know the subject best. Analyze material carefully. Don't change or misquote to suit your own means.
Don't be afraid to take sides if you strongly feel one side is correct without a doubt. If there is some doubt on both sides, be the mediator, and let your readers decide for themselves.
Editorials are great tools and powerful weapons if used sparingly and carefully. Constructive criticism is welcomed, or at least tolerated if backed by facts and sincere thought.
Editorials can solidly establish your credibility, or do much to destroy it.
A touch of humor
Writing with a humorous flair is the most difficult, yet most appreciated form of the art.
Try it now and then, but only if the time and topic are right. Bowling is a funny game even when it's not meant to be. In every bowler's life there are the happy times, the sad times and the funny times.
Humor takes many forms and unless it is delicately used, it can be cruel. Oddly, if handled properly, you can use physical characteristics such as big feet, poor eyesight, long and unruly hair or no hair at all, and a long list of other imperfections, but only if they are a vital part of the story line and they do not insult or embarrass anyone.
We are all imperfect in one way or another and most of us can laugh about our imperfections. We've seen bowlers drop the ball behind them, leave a ball in the parking lot or forget to bring it along for a tournament.
A list of novel excuses can tickle a reader and hit home. The laughable things that happen when a family goes bowling, soda and ice cream in the bowling ball holes, marbles in bowling shoes, etc.
Did you ever list the things that bowlers store in their bowling bags? And how about the happenings on any bowling trip? Bad games, bad nights and a variety of other situations are funny to everyone but the shooter, but most bowlers can take it.
So long as humor is not mean and malicious, but kept light and witty, it can succeed and will be welcomed. Subtle sarcasm and satire also have a place, but those avenues are best left to the writers who have passed their early humor tests.
Bowling coverage in newspapers isn't what it used to be
In the good ole days (fifteen years or so ago), most newspapers were willing to allot some space on the sports page to bowling. And, small town newspapers seemed more willing to report bowling news than larger metropolitan newspapers. Editors of these newspapers not only included feature and news stories about local bowlers, but they were always willing to include statistics such as league scores, team standings and tournament results. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Newspapers, too, are affected by the economy. As a result, they must now rely on advertising and subscribers to exist. And bowling news seems to be far down the list when it comes to sports news. In the meantime, following are some helpful hints that may result in your bowling news being included in the local newspaper.
Interacting with the Media
As a publicity chairman, you will spend good part of your time and effort working with media contacts. These are the men and women who work at newspapers, magazines, and television and radio stations gathering news and information for publication or broadcast.
Media contacts want interesting, timely, complete and accurate information. Your chances of obtaining coverage are greatly increased by supplying these needs to your media contacts.
Standings and tournament recaps give readers valuable information on who leads or wins bowling events and how they did it. Although informative, standings and recaps usually don't tell the entire story.
Look for surrounding circumstances that make events more interesting. These might include something special about a tournament champion or someone who bowled an exceptional score under unusual circumstances. Include this information in your story or news release. These information extras will catch the attention of media contacts and increase your odds of gaining coverage.
Media contacts want current and timely information. Old news is not news. Although your bowling news may not "stop the presses," you must provide bowling news to the media as quickly as possible after an event. The longer you wait, the less time they have to develop a story before deadline and the less likely it will be published.
Deadlines are rarely be pushed back. They are set to accommodate schedules and delivery systems. News provided at the last minute or after deadline, may not be used immediately or at all.
Complete and Accurate
Media contacts need complete and accurate information to tell a good story. You must provide them with complete information on the who, what, where, when and why of every event or happening.
Be prepared to give media contacts background information about the sport, an event, league, association or bowler. Some media contacts may be new to bowling or cover too many other "beats" to have a full understanding of the sport.
In addition to providing complete information, it must also be accurate. You can help by:
- Providing full names and correct spellings
- Double checking all scores and math calculations
- Typing or word processing all information
The more your media contacts can rely on you to provide complete and accurate information, the more they will be willing to work with you.
Some additional points to remember are:
- Keep articles brief and to the point.
- Include a contact name and telephone number with the story.
- Never leave a story hanging without final results. If there is follow-up news, such as tournament results, report it in a timely manner. The sports editor will not call you for results.
- Send your articles to any and all bowling publications that may be published in your area, including local and state association publications.
- If you are into computers, log into the Internet and create your own Web page, or latch on to another Web site
- Send stories to the nearest Associated Press location. Who knows, someone just may pick up your news.
- If all else fails, start your own newsletter. Many have done so successfully with the support of their local or state association.
Contents Newsworthy Information
Now that you've developed your media relations plan. Where can you find news and story ideas? Newsworthy bowling events take place hundreds of times each day in bowling centers and association offices. But, few are featured in print and broadcast media. And, in most cases, the difference between published and non-published events is the effectiveness of publicity chairmen or PC's.
As a PC, you should be able to quickly recognize newsworthy information and then develop these story opportunities. You can do this in several ways.
Interact with others to gather information. Seek out people in person or over the telephone to learn the latest news in league, tournament and association action. Most PC's receive press releases from Bowling Headquarters and other national sources. Report this national bowling news to your members. Other "people" sources may include:
- League secretaries
- Tournament coordinators
- Association leaders and committee chairmen
- Bowling center proprietors and staff members
- Pro shop owners and operators
It would be most beneficial for you to attend as many bowling events as possible. While attending these events, network with your "people" sources and analyze the action.
Hundreds of ideas are waiting to be found both on and off the lanes but you must search for them. It is up to you to find and gather news because it won't look for you.
Sifting for Newsworthy Information
To be an effective PC, you must be an information processor. Gather as much bowling-related news as possible and sift through it to identify which has the best chance of being published. The process will become easier and you will be more successful once you get a better understanding of what the media wants. Newsworthy ideas are:
- Interesting and entertaining
- History-making or important firsts
- Localized (about someone or something in the area)
- Humanized (news about real and everyday people)
Follow local news so that you get a better feel for what specific media contacts consider newsworthy. Read:
- Bowling news
- Sports news
- Printed bowling statistics
- Business and economic news
- Health and fitness news
- Lifestyle news
- Senior news
- Charity events news
By reading and understanding what information is of most interest to media contacts, you are more likely to develop bowling news that will be published.
To make bowling coverage happen, you must actively pitch or sell your news to the media. You can do this by using all sources available to you, including talking to the media in person; calling them on the telephone; or mailing, faxing, modeming or hand delivering your bowling news.
To enhance your pitching success rate:
- Practice pitches in advance.
- Don't pitch ideas that satisfy three or fewer newsworthy criteria.
- Develop more than one pitch or angle for each story.
- Pitch your story beyond the sports page.
- Keep support and background information handy.
- Don't let your news get stale. Pitch ideas as soon as possible.
- Pitch to several different mediums - daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
- Take advantage of slow news days.
- Always remain positive. If not successful at first, try again.
Always project a positive image for bowling and your association. Consider your news before you pitch it. Does it place bowling, members, association leaders or others in a negative light? If so, you will probably want to reconsider your pitch.
Contents The use of other media
While the prime objective of all writers is to see their material in printed form, we, as writers of bowling news, sometimes forget that the press is not our only source of communication with the general public. Most often overlooked is the possible use of local radio and television stations as another media source to publicize our bowling news. Almost every city of any size has at least one radio station to service an area with local as well as national news.
To find a listing of local radio stations in your area, look in the yellow pages of your telephone book. While fewer in number, many cities are also covered with cable or UHF television stations. Again, look in the yellow pages of your phone book.
To secure publicity from these other sources, here is a suggested procedure to follow:
- Contact the radio or television station by telephone and request an appointment with the program director. The program director makes the final decisions as to what is to go on the air, just as an editor of a newspaper decides what material will go into a paper.
- When you visit the station, be prepared to point out the importance of bowling news to the community and the number of bowlers who are potential listeners to the station.
- Obtain a list of the scheduled programs that may be appropriate for bowling news. Ask the director if the station has public service programs, if they announce a calendar of events for local organizations, if they would be interested in interviewing a bowling personality.
- Determine the correct procedure the station uses for submitting publicity. Can timely news be called in to the station? Or must all publicity be typed and sent in advance? If so, how soon and to whom?
- When writing publicity for television or radio, you should follow the same basic procedure used when writing copy for a newspaper. One notable difference is that copy for radio or television should be as brief as possible. Most items that are used take less than a minute to announce. In a spot announcement of twenty seconds, an item will contain around thirty words so choose your words carefully.
Contents Finding another source ... An Association Newsletter
Naturally, it is the primary goal of all bowling writers to have your publicity releases printed in newspapers and publications, and reported by broadcast media. However, if one is rejected as so many are these days, it is easy to give up and not try again.
The purpose of this chapter is to show that you can find a satisfying way to promote our game if you are willing to edit your own newsletter.
An expensive, slick publication is not necessary. Rather, you might consider beginning with a newsletter that is simply typewritten and consisting of only a few pages that can be reproduced on a quality copier and distributed by your board members to the local bowling centers where they may be picked up by league members.
If you have access to a computer and many of the software programs that include newsletter templates, it is easy and fun to design an association newsletter that has a professional look.
Although some local and state associations have published a monthly edition of their newsletters, increased printing costs and less funds are limiting associations to fewer editions each year.
If your association is limited to three issues a year, it is important that your first issue is published at the start of the new season. This is the issue that gets your association off on the right foot with members. You should include a calendar of events, promote membership and the value of league sanctioning, report your association's services and benefits, and introduce your association leaders to the membership. This first issue can put your association in a positive position for the entire season.
The second issue should be published in time to promote upcoming activities including local, state and national tournaments. Be sure to consider deadline dates when promoting any event. If your newsletter is scheduled for publication a week before the activity, members won't have much time to consider participating. The season will be under way by the time this issue is published thus, you will be able to take advantage of several story opportunities.
The third issue can be used to wrap up the season. Report the winners of your tournaments, award winners and other achievements of your members. You could even give your members an idea of what to look forward to next season.
The first question of most editors is, "Where and how am I going to get all of the copy I need to fill a newsletter?"
Work with your association president and secretary. They can provide you with the information about the association activities. Ask each to contribute a special column in each issue.
Develop a form for leagues to report high scores and other news. And then you, as editor, determine the news that should be published.
People like to see their names in print and to receive recognition for their achievements. The more names you include, the more popular your newsletter will be.
Although it is your association newsletter, publish other bowling news. Include news about the junior program in your area and state, and national bowling news.
Distribute the newsletter to league secretaries. Ask them to pass it through their leagues. Ask the proprietor to post a copy at the bowling center.
If you are willing to put forth the time and effort you can provide a top-notch service to your members and your association.
Photographs can be an important part of your publicity endeavors. A high-quality, interesting photograph has an excellent chance of being published either alone, or with accompanying articles.
Photographs also sway media contacts' decisions on whether to publish accompanying bowling stories and in which section of the newspaper they will be published. With quality photos, media releases are more likely to run in the front pages of newspaper sections than be buried deep inside.
If you would like a picture to go with a story, you should speak to the sports editor, in person, if possible. Point out the importance of the event or the person you have in mind and the merits of having a photograph.
Staff photographers from newspapers and magazines can ensure top quality photos. With a little advance notice, you can ask media contacts to have photographers assigned to your events. Understand, however, that photographers' schedules are determined by the importance of each story. Other events, such as breaking news can hold higher priorities and that means you may unexpectedly lose staff photographers to other events.
There are several things you can do when working with media contacts and photographers to make shoots more productive.
- Give media contacts and photographers the exact time, date and location of the event in advance.
- Provide media contacts and photographers with suggested shots.
- Photographers cannot spend several hours at your events. They usually drop in, shoot several photographs and immediately move on to other assignments.
- Be available to help photographers identify people in photographs and provide correct spellings of all names.
- Don't permit flash photography in competitive settings without participants' permission. Tell media contacts in advance that flashes may not be permitted. This enables them to bring the right equipment and film.
- Invite photographers at luncheons and banquets to eat as the association's guest.
If a staff photographer is not available on the day and time you need one, ask if the newspaper will use a photo taken by someone else. If so, determine the requirements and needs. Most newspapers and magazines will accept color photographs when they are clear and sharp. Can you use a Polaroid camera? What size print do they require? Must the prints be glossy? Do they want negatives?
On those occasions when newspaper deadlines do not allow you to take photos and have them developed, it may be possible to take some usable publicity photos in advance.
Save all of your negatives and photographs and keep a photo file of your own. A photograph not used for one event may be usable another time.
With today's simple-to-use automated cameras, nearly everyone can shoot photographs that can be published. Many automated cameras come with built-in, adjustable flashes and zoom lenses. Automated cameras are becoming less expensive and may be an important investment for you or your association.
You can assure quality photographs by concentrating on the basics - FOCUS, LIGHTING and COMPOSITION.
The primary subjects in photos must be in focus. Bowling action can be difficult to focus. Bowlers' deliveries are so quick there is little time, if any, to focus. You can overcome this by ignoring the bowler and focusing your camera on the area near the foul line. Once this area is in focus, so are the bowlers who complete their deliveries in the same area. With everything set, and you like the photo's composition, just snap the shutter when the bowler walks into the area.
Focusing can also be a challenge with automated cameras. To learn more about focusing your subjects, read the instruction booklet that comes with your camera.
You should use a flash indoors and outdoors whenever possible. Flashes can illuminate areas, balance lighting and chase away dark shadows.
If you have an adjustable flash, be aware there are different flash brightnesses for different conditions, and different ranges for regular, wide-angle and telephoto lenses. Check your flash instruction book for proper settings.
An automated camera cannot help you with composition but simple math can.
Use the rule of thirds. Imagine your viewfinder as a rectangle divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The key elements of photographs should fall on one or more of the lines' intersection points, instead of being placed in the exact center.
Another composition trick is to look for different camera angles. By changing your camera angle, you can add interest to photos. Remember that different camera angles have different effects. A shot taken from a low angle will make the subject appear larger than life, while a high angle will make her appear diminished.
If composition seems difficult, concentrate on focusing and lighting and leave a little area around your subjects. Photo editors can crop photographs to improve composition.
- Use a 35mm camera. 35mm film is easiest for publication use.
- Avoid using instant cameras. Instant photos have poor focus and color quality and are rarely published.
- A good head shot is preferred when the story is a feature about an individual.
- Use your creativity. Avoid shots of people holding a plaque or trophy, and smiling at the camera. Action shots are always more interesting than award ceremony photos.
- Get close to your subject. Don't leave too much empty space.
- Hold your camera steady when shooting at slow shutter speeds.
- Remember the photography basics - FOCUS, LIGHTING and COMPOSITION.
- If the photo is going to run with a story, it should be of the person prominent in the story. All photos should have a caption when sent to the newspaper. Also provide your name and telephone number as a contact for more information.
- Use typed adhesive labels on the back of photos to provide identifying information, including subjects' name, event name, date and location. Do not write directly on the back of a photographs.
- Deliver photos in person if possible. This assures they won't get lost
- Don't ask to have pictures returned to you. Most editors don't want to be bothered with this task.
Contents Traveling the Information Highway ... The Internet and the Web
The Internet has not only put the future at our doorsteps, but brought it into our homes and our computers. At the touch of a key or the click of a mouse, we are traveling the information highway. What was once thousands of miles and several days away, can now be reached in just moments.
The Internet is an online source of information, from bulletin boards and chat groups to electronic mail (e-mail) and current news. How about browsing the World Wide Web (www), or even establishing your own Website.
Not only is the Internet a great resource tool, but it can be entertaining and educational. Bowling news from around the world is available through the Internet.
Establishing your own Web page gives you the opportunity to communicate your bowling news to others.
All of this seems exciting - and it is. But your computer must have the hardware and software capabilities to access the Internet. Although relatively inexpensive, you should fully understand any expense involved with being online.
Bowling Websites are many. Just sign on, go to one of the popular search engines such as yahoo.com, altavista.com and infoseek.com. Type bowling and hit the search button. Then the fun begins. You'll find dozens upon dozens of categories that can give you just about any information imaginable. It can be time-consuming. If you're searching for information or just want to browse, you'll usually find it worthwhile to travel the information highway.
The writer as a speaker
Once you have broken into print, it won't be long before you are invited to various functions. At some, you will be expected to speak. At other times, you will be invited to serve as the master or mistress of ceremonies or toastmaster.
Most new writers and some old cringe at the thought. It should be the opposite. Take every opportunity to appear as a guest speaker, M.C., host or moderator. In the beginning, and twenty years later, you will be nervous. But remember, those in the audience are waiting to hear what you have to say, and so long as you know what you're talking about, sprinkle in an anecdote or even an old or new joke, you will be much more successful than you think.
Take a little extra time to prepare. Speaking is an extension of writing and can be enjoyable, interesting, and even profitable. In many cases, you will be paid a fee for your services.
Everyone looks up to the person who effectively communicates. And, because of working with words, the tools of communication, a writer has a head start in this department.
With each appearance, you will find yourself more poised and self-assured. You will become a better listener, and think and evaluate what you hear.
A summary of helpful hints
In summary, here are some helpful hints that may lead you to successful publicity endeavors.
Recognizing publicity opportunities
- Interesting or entertaining
- History-making or important firsts
- Organize an Event Calendar
- Maintain a Clipping File
- Create an Idea File
- Subscribe to and read bowling publications
Develop a Media Contact List
- Newspaper editors and writers
- City or regional magazine editors
- Television sports directors and reporters
- Radio sports directors and reporters
- Develop an outline
- Write favorite parts first
- Save the headline for last
- Put it away
- Tell me a story
Publicity Chairman Don'ts and Do's
- DON'T try to disguise advertising as news. It will only be discarded if the editor thinks your publicity is advertising.
- DON'T color the facts. Superlatives exaggerated claims, self promotion, opinion or personal comment do not belong in a news story.
- DON'T pressure or beg an editor to get a story printed and DON'T go over his head to the editor-in-chief or publisher in an attempt to get a rejected story printed.
- DON'T send your material to the wrong person. Address the envelope to the editor by name. If you have a special story, deliver it in person, if possible.
- DON'T rush in with a routine story and hand it to the editor just before deadline. Most material must be in the hands of the editor at least 24 hours before its intended date of publication.
- DON'T invite members of the press to a special function and then ask them to pay an admission fee. Members of the press should always be treated as special guests.
- DON'T get discouraged if your material is not used. If possible, try to learn why it wasn't used, but do so in a tactful way.
- DON'T give up. Try and try again. Sooner or later you will succeed.
- DO write an occasional letter to the editor expressing your appreciation for publicity given. Suggest to others that they also write a note of thanks for the coverage.
- DO know the proper deadlines and the best and most convenient times to call a newspaper.
- DO try to develop an insight to people and events around you so that there are always more than enough stories.
- DO follow up with the results of an event if you have an advance story on a tournament.
- DO write a story with interest to all readers of the sports pages, not just bowlers.
- DO write in a way that will enrich and enlighten, to make people laugh, and maybe cry.
- DO write the truth.
A final word of encouragement
Even though there are times when you feel that no matter what you write, it isn't good enough or won't be read by anyone, always make it a point to continue writing. Don't be too hard on yourself, but then again, don't make excuses for not writing.
Finally, remember that words, your words, have the power to construct or to destruct, to spread knowledge or half truths. So use your words wisely and well.
Glossary of newspaper terms
- Abbreviation for advertisement.
- Additional news matter; matter to be added to a news story.
- Type 5-1/2 points in depth. Agate lines are used as a measure length of newspaper columns.
- A division or phase of a story.
- BANNER LINE
- A single-line headline in large type extending across the first page.
- A reporter's fixed post.
- BODY TYPE
- The type in which most of the newspaper is set; generally, 8 point.
- The point at which a story turns from the first page to an inside page.
- Last-minute important news.
- The reporter's signature, preceding a story.
- CANNED COPY
- Written information sent to a newspaper by press agents and publicity writers.
- Abbreviation for capitals
- The explanatory lines, above or below a newspaper photo or diagram.
- "Can go over" indicates a story that can be used any time.
- Same as copy editor; the editor who puts the copy in its final shape before it is set. He also writes the headlines.
- CREDIT LINE
- The line that designates, if necessary, the source of a story or cut.
- DATE LINE
- The name of the city or town and the date, placed at the beginning of a story not of local origin.
- The minute at which the edition of the newspaper must go to press.
- The copy desk at which news copy is edited and headlined
- A story that is printed solely by one newspaper; a "scoop."
- A story that is timely and interesting but is not strictly news.
- Any matter that has no time restrictions and can be used when needed.
- A page or a page number.
- Abbreviation for headline.
- HOLD FOR RELEASE
- Designation placed on copy that is to be set but is not to be used until the direction to do so is made.
- Putting back the edition deadline to wait for an important copy.
- Abbreviation for "head to come," the designation put on the first page of a story rushed to the composing room in takes, headline to follow.
- To eliminate from copy; to discard as useless.
- LATE WATCH
- A skeleton staff that remains to handle late stories and editions. On a morning paper, the hours from 1 a.m. to four a.m. are the late watch.
- A sheet, ruled into columns, indicating where articles and ads will be placed on the newspaper page.
- The introduction of a news story.
- The process of placing news and ads on the newspaper, usually found on the editorial page.
- The place where newspaper clippings are filed.
- A designation placed on copy to indicate it must be printed.
- Twelve-point type.
- A page made over between editions for imperative corrections or for additions to an important story.
- An impression of type on paper on which corrections and alterations are made.
- PUT TO BED
- Closing the forms for an edition.
- The order to print a story that was set earlier and held to await instructions from an editor in charge.
- To write for a second time to strengthen the story or to reduce it in length.
- Designation placed on copy to insure speed in handling it in the composing room.
- SECOND FRONT
- The first page of the second section of the newspaper, sometimes called the split page.
- Slang for newspaper.
- Minor, brief stories.
- Where the head of the copy desk sits.
- STAR EDITIONA
- one-star edition is the first; a two star, the second; four or five star is usually the final edition
- Let it stand; restore
- A line of prominent type in the body of a story to break up a long section of type.
- A synopsis of a news story.
- A section of a running story.
- To reduce the length of a story; similar to cut.
- Abbreviation for typographical error.
Contents A Suggested writer's reference library
An article about bowling sent to a newspaper is more apt to be used if the sports editor or copy editor does not have to spend a lot of time completely rewriting the article. So be especially careful as you write. Try to keep technical mistakes, errors in grammar and sentence structure to a minimum. There is no excuse for misspelled words when a good dictionary should be next to your computer or typewriter, and used when necessary. Remember that your computer's spell check will not catch all misspelled or misused words. A good selection of reference books can help you avoid many of these mistakes.
Following is a suggested list of pamphlets and books to add to your reference library. These and other reference books can be found in most book stores or may be ordered from the publishers. Be sure to ask for the most recent edition.
- A good dictionary - Merriam-Webster New Collegiate or American College Dictionary.
- Webster's Instant Word Guide - A quick reference to aid the word division and spelling of 35,000 words.
- Synonyms and Anonyms - Roget's College Thesaurus
- The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White. - Explains the fundamentals of writing.
- A dictionary of Modern English Usage, by H. W. Fowler - One of the best reference books of its kind.
- The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual - One of the best known stylebooks; used by many newspapers. It provides a uniform code to govern details of capitalization, abbreviations, punctuation, titles, etc. Many newspapers have their own stylebooks with variations as preferred by a particular paper. Ask the editor of your local paper if you can have a copy. He will appreciate your efforts to conform to the newspaper's style.
- The Newswriter's Handbook, by M. L. Stein - An excellent book for the novice writer. It explains how news is gathered, written and edited, with numerous examples. A copy of the Associated Press Stylebook is included as an appendix.
- Headlines and Deadlines, by Robert E. Garst and Theodore M. Berstein - This book provides a broad background of a typical newspaper, the copy editor, headlines, etc.
- A Dictionary of Usage and Style, by Roy H. Copperud
- Errors in English, by Harry Shaw - A quick reference guide to correct usage and a good grammar book.
- The Pocket Dictionary of American Slang, compiled by Harold Wentworth and Stuart Flexner.
In order to write about the game with some Commonly Misused Words
- a, an
- The use of these two articles is dictated by the sound of the word following them rather than by the letter. (A historian, but an honor.)
- accept, except
- Accept means "to receive or agree". Except is a preposition or conjunction which means "other than". As a verb, except means "leave out".
- advice, advise
- Advice is a noun, advise is a verb.
- adverse, averse
- Adverse describes something hostile or difficult. Averse indicates opposition to something.
- affect, effect
- There are exceptions, but affect is usually a verb meaning "to influence" and effect is a noun meaning "result".
- all ready, already
- All ready means "completely prepared", and already means "by now" or "before now".
- all right
- All right is always correct. There is no such word as alright.
- all together, altogether
- All together means "in unison". Altogether means "entirely".
- a lot
- This is always correct. Alot is not a word but is commonly (and improperly) used to mean "many". Another common error here is the use of the word Allot which means "to give to". Most spellcheckers will suggest this as a fix for alot. Be careful.
- alternately / alternatively
- Alternately is an adverb that means in turn; one after the other: We alternately spun the wheel in the game. Alternatively is an adverb that means on the other hand; one or the other: You can choose a large bookcase or, alternatively, you can buy two small ones.
- among, between
- Something is between two things and among more than two.
- This one makes many teachers itch. Not only is it informal usage but it implies three options: one, the other, or both. If you mean to imply all three options, this is correct. If you mean both, use and. If you mean either, use or.
- anybody, any body
- Careful with this one! Anybody means “any person”. Any body means “any corpse” or “any human form”. Does anybody want to go on a trip? The mortician had a lot of work to do. He could pick any body to start with.
- anyone, any one
- Anyone means essentially the same as Anybody (see above). Any one means “any single person” or “any single thing”.
- besides, beside
- Besides is a preposition meaning "except". Beside is a preposition meaning "next to".
- bring, take
- Bring is reserved for movement from a farther place to a nearer one. Take is used for any other movement. Take these books to Mrs. Donnely for approval and bring them back to me.
- can, may
- Can means to be physically able. May means to have permission.May I go to the park? My leg has healed and I think I can do it!
- climactic, climatic
- Climactic comes from the word climax and refers to a dramatic high. Climatic comes from the word climate and refers to the weather.
- complement, compliment
- The language gods screwed this one up. These homonyms are very similar in meaning. To complement is to add to or reinforce something. The yellow scarf complements her wardrobe. Compliment means to flatter. He complimented her on her lovely new scarf. Bet ya didn't know they were different words, did ya?
- conscience, conscious
- Here's another dandy. Conscience is a noun meaning "a sense of right and wrong". Conscious is an adjective meaning "aware". Though I was barely conscious, my conscience was nagging me.
- data, media, criteria
- Technically, data is always plural, though constant abuse in daily speech has rendered it singular and plural. A careful writer or speaker treats it as plural. The data support no conclusions as yet. The data are inconclusive. The singular form of data is datum. Media and Criteria are both plural. The singular forms are Medium and Criterion, respectively.
- device, devise
- Device is a noun meaning “apparatus” or “machine”. Devise is a verb meaning “to create” or “invent”. Can you devise a device to fix this problem?
- elicit, illicit
- Elicit is a verb meaning to "bring out". Illicit is an adjective meaning "unlawful".
- everybody, everyone, every body, every one
- Everybody and everyone are indefinite pronouns. Everybody loves Raymond. Every one is the pronoun one modified by every. Ditto for every body. Every one of the desks is broken.
- farther, further
- Farther refers to additional distance. Further refers to additional time or other abstract matters. I don't want to discuss this any further.
- good, well
- Here's a favorite of most snooty professorial types who love to catch people using these words incorrectly. Good is an adjective Larry is a good dancer. Well is almost always an adverb He and Linda dance well together. Well can be used as an adjective only in reference to health. You don't look well. That is, you look sick. Saying to someone, "You look good!" means that they are pleasing to the eye. When someone asks you how you are, you can either say "I'm good" meaning you are skilled at something or "I'm well" meaning you are healthy and feeling chipper.
- hanged, hung
- Hanged always refers to executions. Hung refers to all other objects. The horse thief was hanged, but not until after he hung a sign advertising his services.
- This phrase, while gender impartial, is awkward and should be avoided. It is better to either use the plural or the construction he or she. Once a writer learns to spell, he or she can produce drafts more quickly...or...Once writers learn to spell, they can produce drafts more quickly.
- Hopefully means "full of hope." Do not use it to mean "I hope" or anything of the sort. (Margaret watched hopefully as the lotto numbers were drawn...not, Hopefully, my lotto numbers will come up.)
- illusion, allusion
- These are easy to confuse if you have never been taught the difference. Illusion means “and unreal image or false impression”. Allusion is an “indirect reference”.
- infer, imply
- Readers or listeners infer something. Writers or speakers imply. From this paper I infer that you are unhappy with the course. Do you mean to imply that we are not providing a challenging academic atmosphere?
- This is simply not a word. It is incorrectly used to mean regardless.
- its, it's
- Its is possessive. It's is the contraction of it is. Avoid this problem by avoiding contractions in formal writing and test for it by reading any "its" as "it is".
- lay, lie
- Yet another set of words we screw up constantly (I blame my parents). Lay means "to put or place" and takes a direct object. I went to lay the carpet. Lie means "to recline". I'm just going to lie back and let the money roll in. The trick is that the past tense for of lie is lay.
- like, as
- These words are confused mostly because we haven’t ever been taught the difference. Like should be used only as a preposition (in formal English, anyway) and never as a conjunction to introduce a clause. It looks as if there will be rain...not, It looks like there will be rain.
- This word means “just as the words say” and should be avoided as a word meant to intensify the meaning of a phrase or sentence. He was literally climbing the walls is awkward and says that he was behaving like Spiderman. This use is best avoided to avoid confusion. It is not a word which adds degrees of seriousness to a phrase.
- loose, lose
- These are confused because of simple spelling errors. Loose is almost always an adjective meaning “unconfined” and Lose is a verb meaning “to release”. The collar was too loose. That is a sure way to lose a dog.
- may of, might of, must of
- The proper usage is “must have”, “might have”, or “may have”.
- emigrant, immigrant, migrant
- Emigrant is a noun that means one who leaves one's native country to settle in another: The emigrants spent four weeks aboard ship before landing inLos Angeles. Immigrant is a noun that means one who enters and settles in anew country: Most of the immigrants easily found jobs. Migrant is a noun that means one who travels from one region to another, especially in search of work.
- There is no such word. It is improperly used in place of “nowhere”
- that, which
- That is a restrictive pronoun. Which is nonrestrictive. The car that was stolen is totalled. This implies that there is more than one car in question. The car, which was stolen, is totalled. In this sentence the phrase is paranthetical or nonessential. It simply adds clarification to the sentence by describing the car.
- whether, weather
- Don’t confuse these words. Weather is the rainy stuff that falls from the sky. Whether introduces alternatives. Whether or not the weather cooperates will determine our schedule.