Every news-nerds’ favourite book, Canadian Press Caps and Spelling.

John White: How to put your best submission forward

Examining the best ways to get your events covered in the paper and on our websites.

You might remember a column I wrote back in November talking about the best ways to get your events covered in the paper and on our websites.

I will expand on some of those concepts later in this column, but I first want to promote the rescheduled event that sparked the original article.

Andrea Ryman of Destination Castlegar wanted to coordinate a gathering in November of all of the service groups and entertainment leaders in the community to come together for a session to ensure there is no unintentional overlapping of dates for major events throughout the year.

There was an overwhelming response to the initial meeting call, so Andrea decided to reschedule to late January to allow all interested parties to attend. So the event is back on, this time Jan. 31. at The Sandman Hotel at 7 p.m.

“The Castlegar Chamber of Commerce and Destination Castlegar are partnering up with our local media to bring the citizens of Castlegar some new tools in making your event amazing,” she said in a press release.

“Put your event on the calendar for 2018. Make sure your fundraiser is known, well attended and a great success. Leave with confidence that your event is the only one on that day or will not conflict with one and other, meet new community members, maybe even volunteers and take away some skills on how to get your event out there.”

Andrea and I discussed how it would also be a great chance to teach the community the best ways to get their events in the news, so she invited me to attend and give a short presentation.

I covered some of the tips I plan to share at the meeting in my original column, but I thought it would be helpful to expand on those here. I’ll list the tips in order of importance, according to my brain. The first one is my big push:

Cheque presentation photo alternatives

If you’d like to highlight an important donation or fundraiser, do so in an interesting way. I recommend having the people involved illustrate the way the money will help. Say you’re donating money to an equestrian group that provides therapeutic rides for children … set up a time where that incredible work can be featured in a photo to help draw in the reader. We want to honour the great work being done in the communities in a way that is still of interest to readers.

Use objective language

What often happens in event reports where you have a friend or family taking part is the article turns into a celebration rather than a straight-up news report. I understand the excitement of sharing accomplishments, but I recommend sticking to objective language to keep it in a journalistic vein. Instead of saying “the boys/girls played great in that game,” let the coach talk about the effort. “The boys really came together at that tournament,” said coach Coachy McCoacherson.

Entice, don’t sell

Even if you are trying to attract people to attend your event in your submission, you can write it in such a way that is newsworthy and not a straight-up sales pitch. Think about how your event is unique, or what it makes people feel, and focus on that. Let a previous participant or organizer paint a colourful picture of what to expect, to draw in the reader. If you focus on the benefit of the event to the reader, you will better engage them.

Basic Canadian Press Style

There are a few recurring elements in almost every submitted article that need tweaking to become newspaper- and website-ready, and they are almost always simple CP Style fixes. You couldn’t be expected to know these nuances, as you didn’t have to suffer through, err, rather, enjoy learning these things in journalism school. But, every little bit helps in the editing process, and the less I need to tweak the more items I can print in the papers and on our websites.

CP on time: The most common is the time element: Correct CP Style is “3 p.m.”

CP on capitalization: Only proper names are capitalized and Random Words are not.

CP on punctuation: There are no exclamation points in journalism!!!!! unless the “War is over!”

There’s plenty more where these came from on tap for the event. Be sure to contact Andrea by Friday at 4 p.m at tourism@castlegar.com or 250-365-6313.

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