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briefs, notes, announcements section

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    At our weeklies, we have a page each week for announcements of youth sports tryouts, clinics, etc. (as long as it's nonprofit) They're free announcements that we publish as a community service. I can't make any guarantee that whatever somebody that the item they send will be published and I hope I make that clear to people. I also make it clear that local town-specific items (for example, that local Little League tryouts) take priority over regional items (such as an AAU or select team tryout).
    One guy, however, didn't seem to get it and was very adamant that he needed me to promise that his AAU baseball notice would be included. When that didn't happen (more than once) he called my supervisor.
    What I wanted to tell him was that if he needed a guarantee that the item would be published (and published in more than one paper) he should buy an ad. The second time that the notice wasn't published and he went to my supervisor was in the middle of state tournament week, so you'd hope one would understand that the last thing on my mind would be squeezing a freebie into the paper.
    Basically this guy wants his notice in the paper and wants me to take it as seriously as if it's a paid advertisement.
    The problem is, I don't want to take it that seriously.
    But is this one of those things I have to take seriously even if I don't want to take it seriously?
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    No. If he wants something guaranteed, he can buy an ad. You did nothing wrong.
  3. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    Agreed. And don't you love people who demand freebies?
  4. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    You're fine. Just stand firm on that policy. Two papers ago, I used to take the calls and put them on the page. I put everything in chronological order, and if April 28 was the furthest down the column we could go, May 6 was shit out of luck. Not everyone liked the policy, but I thought it was fair to everyone. So I stuck with it.
  5. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    General philosophy: Never promise anybody anything, never guarantee anybody anything.
    You never know what will happen, a power failure, press breakdown, somebody above you tells you not to run it. Make sure your people know that you will "try" to get something in, but never guarantee 'em.
  6. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    To piggyback on what SoCalDude said: lay out your policy in writing if possible. We run a local digest rail on page two every day with all the baseball registrations, 5k races etc... at the bottom, we have a little blurb where we tell people how to submit and remind them that we reserve the right to edit and will run submissions on a space-available basis. It doesn't stop all the complaints, but I'm sure it has stopped a few.
  7. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    In four years as sports editor, I took more calls and complaints over our brief section than anything else I did. I spent three hours one day over the span of five phone calls with one guy who was mad his brief didn't make it into the paper even though he sent it in just the day before.

    No, don't take it seriously. And yes, you handled it right.
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