Because they have the largest staffs and readership, newspapers (daily and weekly) and some magazines (weekly and monthly) will always be important targets for outreach. These outlets generally provide more in-depth treatment of a subject than television, radio or wire stories. Newspapers can be particularly valuable communication tools because they are published frequently, cover a broad range of issues and rely heavily on local news to fill pages. As a result, newspapers are more likely to publish editorials, opinion pieces and letters generated by your coalition members. Opportunities for coverage include:
- Editorial page and letters to the editor
- Metro/city news
- Economic development news
- Transportation and commuter news
- Politics and government news, particularly concerning budgets and public projects
- Business and employment features
- Energy and environmental news
- Technology and science features
- Lifestyle features
- Real estate features
- Consumer news
- Special interest population news (i.e., senior citizens, people with disabilities, minorities, students and children, the disadvantaged)
Top Five People To Know At Newspapers and Magazines
Editorial page editor (along with the editorial board) selects the topics on which the publication will take an editorial position and decides which editorial meetings will be scheduled. He or she may also write the editorials.
Op-ed page editor and editor of letters-to-the-editor section both determine which opinion editorial (op-ed) articles and letters will be published.
City/metro desk editor handles local stories in the community and is likely to be the first contact for local events.
Specific "beat" reporters receive assignments from the above editors and cover a specific "beat," such as community events, religion, local government, the economy, etc.; they write the stories and may ask for interviews.
Photo desk editor, who may want to attend events that offer compelling visuals and good photo opportunities.
Contacting Print Reporters/Editors:
When contacting a journalist, columnist or editor, be direct in making a request. Do not hesitate to ask for a supportive editorial or follow-up story. Below are some specific suggestions for initiating editorial board meetings, op-ed pieces, a feature story or column and letters to the editor.
Reporters are always pressed for time. They maintain busy schedules to stay abreast of breaking news. Sensitivity to the media’s deadlines is critical to working successfully with journalists in any medium. Standard deadlines for print media vary according to the type of publication, but typical ones include:
- Daily morning newspapers: 2 to 3 p.m. the prior afternoon
- Daily evening newspapers: Early morning the day of the issue
- Weekly newspapers/magazines: Five to seven days before the issue date
- Monthly magazines: Two to six weeks before publication