Writer and Press Release Guidelines
Our goal is to maintain the three things that set our articles and writers apart from other local newspapers, magazines, or journals.
- News Without the Negative
Our articles are positive, upbeat, encouraging, informative, and inspiring. We choose to look for the good in each story and overlook the negative while still maintaining accuracy. We don’t do obituaries, traffic fatalities, commissioner’s reports, or inflammatory political commentary.
We appreciate local writers who are in touch with local characters and events.
Grammar, punctuation, style, and format are to be of the highest quality. Writers are to follow editorial rules of the AP Writer’s Guide.
Randi Fetters is the Copy Editor of The Kaleidoscope Weekly, and is responsible for the final editing of all writing projects. If grammar is not your strongpoint, contract with someone to edit your article prior to submission. If your submission needs extensive editing, adjustments will be made to your rate of compensation.
Main feature word counts are to be between 500-750 words, edited, and need to conform to the AP standards for newspaper publications. Secondary front page features are to be between 350-500 words. Main features are allowed three to five pictures with captions and secondary features may have one. Additional photos are negotiable.
Submissions are due on Thursdays by 5:00 for Friday layout, Monday press, Wednesday delivery for a Thursday edition. About four times a year we have to adjust for major holidays.
Human Interest vs. Journalism
Human Interest is different from Journalism. If a story falls into a Scandal or Breaking News category, it would be a better fit for another publication. We want to maintain a family-friendly paper that does not rely on sensationalism to catch the reader’s attention. Be on the lookout for article ideas such as: upcoming events, interesting people, places, and things. Human Interest writing should not only be interesting to humans, but also contain humans that are interesting.
Captivating titles are essential to getting your story, article, or press release read or published. Don’t settle for average. A title’s “other job” is to spark interest. If there’s an interesting play on words you can use, use it. A great photo can scream “Pick Me Up!” to passersby, and a cleverly written title can do the same thing.
Hook Me, Hold Me
Set that hook with the first sentence and keep the line tight throughout the story or your reader will wriggle off the hook. Please don’t ignore the basics of good writing.
While not necessary, these are nice to see in the body of an article, especially a longer article to help break it up. They are little “mini-titles” that help ease the flow when your story takes a slight turn or change in topic. They should be a short phrase or two, with a blank line before and after. They also serve to break up the story and make it seem more digestible. Imagine a half page of text by itself, then imagine it being broken up into three or four segments, each with its own little bold header. The latter is much more enticing to read. We will set these in bold font & title case in the final copy.
As an example, assume you are writing a story about a family-run business, how it got started and grew and struggled over the years. Some examples of these topic breaks throughout the story might be: Inspiration From an Unlikely Source, Starting on A Shoestring, Business 101: To Employ or Not to Employ, A Family Affair, Hard Lessons: The Rocky Years, Generation II – Passing the Torch.
Kaleidoscope Press Release and Announcement Guidelines
Press Releases and announcements are limited to space available unless they are submitted as a paid advertorial. The less editing they need, the better chance they have of making it into the paper. Here are additional guidelines:
- Announcements: 200 words or less, Times New Roman font, 12 point, with digital pic
- Press Releases: 300 words or less, Times New Roman font, 12 point, with digital pic and caption
- Submissions are to follow editorial rules of the AP Writer’s Guide
- All submissions must be in an editable format i.e. in the body of a email or attached as a Word document
I hope these comments help provide you with a rough idea of what we’re looking for. Do everything you can to set yourself apart from the average crowd, and with your help, The Kaleidoscope Weekly will continue to be an exceptional publication.
Vicki A. Brady