Four ways to get Hamilton Community News to cover your group or event

Opinion Jun 03, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Stoney Creek News

Last week it was my great pleasure to be the moderator for the Hamilton Media Advisory Council’s annual story meeting, where members of the city’s multicultural groups pitch members of the media stories that they think we should be telling.

While we had many great presentations (you’ll be seeing many stories from the meeting in our pages over the next few months), it did put me in mind of the fact that many of the pitches I receive from the community, well, leave a lot to be desired. That’s not a knock against the many volunteers who give their time and do their best to get coverage for their organizations (paid PR folks aren’t always much better), but most folks out there have never been trained on how to interact with the media. So for the benefit of all of us I figured I’d share with you a few tips on how to get your story into our papers.

Be succinct, but… Us editors are busy folk so the odds that we’re going to be able to read your 1,500 word news release is vanishingly small. Tell us the who, what, where, when, why and how. Let us know how to contact you and save the in-depth details for the interview. That said, if you’ve never dealt with us before a short history about your group and what they do is appreciated so we can put things into context. Also, do your best to avoid jargon as if we can’t understand what you’re saying, we might pass on a great story.

Know who we are: Not a day goes by when I don’t receive at least a dozen releases for events or groups outside our coverage area. We realize that you may have supporters in our communities, or that our readers might be interested in what you have to say, but that’s not our focus. We report on what’s happening in our communities first, followed by things being done by community members outside our borders. Almost every week we have more of those stories than we can tell. If you can make one of these local connections, then we can talk, if not, then we’re likely going to pass. Most people, after I explain our coverage philosophy, get it, but sometimes I’ve had people try to argue that we ought to change a system that’s worked for us for over 130 years to accommodate them. They’ve never won that argument.

Be professional: Gone are the days when as an editor everyone would call me “Mr. Cameron,” but if I don’t know you starting an e-mail: “Hey Gordie baby!!!” isn’t a recipe for me taking you seriously. (It isn’t a recipe for me taking you seriously even if I know you.)

Pick up the phone: I really hate to suggest this lest I be overwhelmed by calls, but phoning after sending a press release can be valuable. Calling once? Good. Calling every day? Not so much. Also, it’s important you do your research and be sure to call the right editor. Yes, I’m the top editorial guy, but if your story is in Ancaster, I’m just going to pass you off to our Ancaster editor, so just call her first.

Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

Four ways to get Hamilton Community News to cover your group or event

Tips on creating a release that is sure to turn our editors' heads

Opinion Jun 03, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Stoney Creek News

Last week it was my great pleasure to be the moderator for the Hamilton Media Advisory Council’s annual story meeting, where members of the city’s multicultural groups pitch members of the media stories that they think we should be telling.

While we had many great presentations (you’ll be seeing many stories from the meeting in our pages over the next few months), it did put me in mind of the fact that many of the pitches I receive from the community, well, leave a lot to be desired. That’s not a knock against the many volunteers who give their time and do their best to get coverage for their organizations (paid PR folks aren’t always much better), but most folks out there have never been trained on how to interact with the media. So for the benefit of all of us I figured I’d share with you a few tips on how to get your story into our papers.

Be succinct, but… Us editors are busy folk so the odds that we’re going to be able to read your 1,500 word news release is vanishingly small. Tell us the who, what, where, when, why and how. Let us know how to contact you and save the in-depth details for the interview. That said, if you’ve never dealt with us before a short history about your group and what they do is appreciated so we can put things into context. Also, do your best to avoid jargon as if we can’t understand what you’re saying, we might pass on a great story.

Know who we are: Not a day goes by when I don’t receive at least a dozen releases for events or groups outside our coverage area. We realize that you may have supporters in our communities, or that our readers might be interested in what you have to say, but that’s not our focus. We report on what’s happening in our communities first, followed by things being done by community members outside our borders. Almost every week we have more of those stories than we can tell. If you can make one of these local connections, then we can talk, if not, then we’re likely going to pass. Most people, after I explain our coverage philosophy, get it, but sometimes I’ve had people try to argue that we ought to change a system that’s worked for us for over 130 years to accommodate them. They’ve never won that argument.

Related Content

Be professional: Gone are the days when as an editor everyone would call me “Mr. Cameron,” but if I don’t know you starting an e-mail: “Hey Gordie baby!!!” isn’t a recipe for me taking you seriously. (It isn’t a recipe for me taking you seriously even if I know you.)

Pick up the phone: I really hate to suggest this lest I be overwhelmed by calls, but phoning after sending a press release can be valuable. Calling once? Good. Calling every day? Not so much. Also, it’s important you do your research and be sure to call the right editor. Yes, I’m the top editorial guy, but if your story is in Ancaster, I’m just going to pass you off to our Ancaster editor, so just call her first.

Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.

Four ways to get Hamilton Community News to cover your group or event

Tips on creating a release that is sure to turn our editors' heads

Opinion Jun 03, 2015 by Gordon Cameron Stoney Creek News

Last week it was my great pleasure to be the moderator for the Hamilton Media Advisory Council’s annual story meeting, where members of the city’s multicultural groups pitch members of the media stories that they think we should be telling.

While we had many great presentations (you’ll be seeing many stories from the meeting in our pages over the next few months), it did put me in mind of the fact that many of the pitches I receive from the community, well, leave a lot to be desired. That’s not a knock against the many volunteers who give their time and do their best to get coverage for their organizations (paid PR folks aren’t always much better), but most folks out there have never been trained on how to interact with the media. So for the benefit of all of us I figured I’d share with you a few tips on how to get your story into our papers.

Be succinct, but… Us editors are busy folk so the odds that we’re going to be able to read your 1,500 word news release is vanishingly small. Tell us the who, what, where, when, why and how. Let us know how to contact you and save the in-depth details for the interview. That said, if you’ve never dealt with us before a short history about your group and what they do is appreciated so we can put things into context. Also, do your best to avoid jargon as if we can’t understand what you’re saying, we might pass on a great story.

Know who we are: Not a day goes by when I don’t receive at least a dozen releases for events or groups outside our coverage area. We realize that you may have supporters in our communities, or that our readers might be interested in what you have to say, but that’s not our focus. We report on what’s happening in our communities first, followed by things being done by community members outside our borders. Almost every week we have more of those stories than we can tell. If you can make one of these local connections, then we can talk, if not, then we’re likely going to pass. Most people, after I explain our coverage philosophy, get it, but sometimes I’ve had people try to argue that we ought to change a system that’s worked for us for over 130 years to accommodate them. They’ve never won that argument.

Related Content

Be professional: Gone are the days when as an editor everyone would call me “Mr. Cameron,” but if I don’t know you starting an e-mail: “Hey Gordie baby!!!” isn’t a recipe for me taking you seriously. (It isn’t a recipe for me taking you seriously even if I know you.)

Pick up the phone: I really hate to suggest this lest I be overwhelmed by calls, but phoning after sending a press release can be valuable. Calling once? Good. Calling every day? Not so much. Also, it’s important you do your research and be sure to call the right editor. Yes, I’m the top editorial guy, but if your story is in Ancaster, I’m just going to pass you off to our Ancaster editor, so just call her first.

Gordon Cameron is Group Managing Editor for Hamilton Community News.