I’m often asked by people how they can get the best coverage possible for their event in GO and other Features sections of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

While there are many factors that play into choosing which events to write about, story placement, etc., there are some easy steps that can be taken to help us in the decision-making process:

• Know our deadlines. For a listing in GO, we require two weeks’ notice prior to publication. An entertainment listing is almost guaranteed publication in GO as long as it’s received by deadline and has all the essential information. For story pitches, you should plan on giving us as much notice as possible, because we typically plan issues weeks, sometimes months, in advance.

• Learn how to write a good press release. The following information should always — always — be included at the top: the name of the event, time, date, location (including street address and town), cost (even if it’s free) and contact information, both for the public and for the media. After that, you should include a brief description of the event, highlighting anything that’s new or unique. If it’s a concert, play or art exhibit, note the genre. If it’s age-restricted, note that too.

• DON’T do the following: load up the press release with canned quotes (we probably won’t use them), construct it so we have to read the entire release to search for the essential information, or use the press release as an excuse to unleash your inner Hemingway. We don’t have a lot of time to read press releases, so brevity is best — one page maximum.

• Do some research beforehand to ensure your information gets to the right person. For GO, you should send event information to [email protected] If you would like something to be considered for a story, you should contact myself or someone on the Features staff — our contact information is included at the end of every byline article.

• Make sure your contact information is current — some of the mail we receive is addressed to people who haven’t worked here for a decade or more, so it’s a roll of the dice as to whose desk it will end up on.

• When sending an email, include the name and/or nature of the event in the subject line. Don’t simply say “press release” or leave it blank; that’s a sure way to end up in the spam filter. Include the information in the body of the email rather than as a text attachment, because there are times when we don’t have the software required to open a file, or a file becomes corrupted.

• Attaching photos to an email increases the chances your event will receive more visibility in the newspaper. Be sure to include a photo credit and to send high-resolution images (200 dpi or greater) — anything less will be grainy and unusable. If sending multiple images, send them separately to avoid long download times.

• Be patient. Due to the volume of emails and snail mail that we receive, we simply cannot reply to them all. Feel free to follow-up via email or phone to ensure we received the information, but please understand that we may not be able to tell you whether we will be covering the event with a listing, a story, a photo or a combination of all three. Sometimes, that decision isn’t made until the week of publication.

• Don’t be shy. If you have questions, give me a yell at the email address listed below.

 

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at [email protected]