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Getting Your Name In Print
I am concluding that I am preaching to an audience who is already convinced that getting your
name in print is good for business.
Getting one's name out is a lot easier than you think. It doesn't cost that much. It does, however,
cost time. This too can be managed once you realize its necessity. Getting your name in the paper
expands your brand image.
You can't buy better publicity. And, herein lies the conundrum. You can't buy it. You have to earn
it. The only way you earn it is by knowing the media you are targeting and by becoming
WHAT EDITORS LOOK FOR
This comes under the heading of how to become newsworthy. That itself is only one of the ways
to get your name in print. Editors are looking for news and calendar events. That is the difference
between a listing and a news story.
To get more insight, we will discuss relevant newspapers to the Los Angeles region of Southern
Most all are familiar with the Calendar Section of the Los Angeles Times. There are variations the
schedule of events in most all media. The business section lists events coming in the current week.
The Book Review section lists authors' appearances in both Orange and Los Angeles Counties for
the next seven days. Local hometown newspapers have event calendars at least once a week. Print
media, specialized, and others list notices for promotions, big accounts signed/lost and
You can get into the newspaper or trade by becoming newsworthy or being a scheduled event. An
announcement of a business event will increase attendance and put your brand name out again in
the market place of ideas. An in-depth article has more jazz to it.
Editors are getting fussier. They use to be willing to send a photographer to an event if there was
a chance to capture three men and a piece of paper. In other words, boring --- boring. Now, they
want to be convinced there is a story to go along with the shot.
To make your appearance in print noteworthy, you have to do enough research to make the editor
happy. You don't just give them a lead. Hand them a finished story.City editors are bombarded
daily with potential material. Give them as little work to do as possible. They will remember you
and be ready to help the next time.
You would be surprised how few folks understand that different newspapers and magazines look
for different stories. What makes interesting copy for one will not even get a glance from another.
A national pub is not going to be interested, in say, a small entrepreneur unless, of course, this
business is fighting in court with Microsoft.
Editors want copy that hooks readers. Copy in and of itself comes under the heading of a feature
story. Or, as it is known to journalists, soft news. This is a story, which can run any time It doesn't
have time constraints attached to it. Make your story timely.
Now let's look at the regions best-known newspapers and see what else we can learn. After you
go through this litany, you will no longer have to ask why your press release didn't make it.
DAILIES AND WEEKLIES
They print different kind of news. To break it down, their target audiences are not the same. This
also holds true for regional publications as compared to hometown papers.
We need to consider one more detail before going ahead. I don't know how many times I talk to
small and fairly new entrepreneurs who have stars in their eyes when it comes to where they want
to see their name in print. Every story needs to have a news hook. In laymen's terms, it is the
angle. All publications have guidelines when it comes to the hook they are looking for. You need
to read the publications you want to pitch.
The Los Angeles Times
Many sections of the Times are open to freelance work. This means that you may potentially pitch
a free column based on your expertise.
The Times covers most of Southern California. Think of this when pitching stories It is good
policy not to bombard different editors with the same press kits. An example would be a profile of
a local author. Such a story, depending on how famous the author, can end up either in the
business section or the Calendar.
Areas open to freelance include: book review, Calendar, business and Travel and various special
Most successful placements require eventual phone interfacing. Never start a conversation with an
editor before assuring yourself that you are not interrupting his/her deadline. If so, apologize and
ask when to call back. Never call an editor on Friday They are dealing with the weekend
In the So Cal area we have regional dailies, hometown dailies, entertainment trades, and city
magazines. We will go over the important ones.
The Pasadena Weekly has a long and intriguing history. It has gone through several changes of
ownership. My first byline ran in it almost 30 years ago. It was then known as the Altadena
Chronicle. It covers local politics, school board issues, from time to time, and local entertainment.
You will find similar copy in the more well-known, Los Angeles Weekly. Both are crammed full
of advertising, but there is useful copy between the pages. Both are open to pitches which come
under the heading of 'what's happening around town.' The Los Angeles Weekly is much more
difficult to pitch because of its age, shortage of staff and a bigger lineup of those knocking on
their door. The Pasadena Weekly now has a circulation outside of the city. If your story isn't
happening within their distribution range, don't waste your time.
The two prominent daily locals are the Pasadena Star News and the Daily News, formerly known
as the Green Sheet. Their center point used to be closer to Van Nuys but have since moved
farther west. Coverage changes continually. The Star News has been running policy in the San
Gabriel Valley for years. This is one way that judging a book by its cover can get you in trouble.
The Star News is scrawny on its best days. If you want to make a splash in Pasadena, you find a
way to get your name in this paper. Since it obviously has little extra white space, planning ahead
is a key. Editors are listed on the second page with direct numbers.
On a side note, consider the following. Most editors don't return calls. Don't take it personal. It's
just there way of doing business. Or, in this case, not doing business. They simply do not have the
time. By the time you have just figured out how to deal with one editor, another will have come
to replace his/her.
The Daily News has been around under various ownerships since the '50s. It is very specifically
targeted to its coverage area. If you are not doing business within its boundaries, don't waste your
There are smaller shoppers (weeklies) around if you take the time to look for them. Their
audiences read them diligently. These carry ads from the local business owners. If you are setting
up shop in a small suburb, be sure and track down the one in your area.
There is one more local paper to check out in the Los Angeles area, the Downtown News. Until a
few years back this was only distributed in business offices in downtown LA. Then, it started
showing up in news boxes in the Pasadena area. The last time I chatted with their publisher/editor,
she didn't seem to know exactly how far they would be expanding their circulation.
If you are in the PR or advertising business, do not forget AdWeek. Its main office is in Los
Angeles. They are always open to pitches/announcements of new business and have a spot for
promotions and new hires. Less you think this be an insignificant placement, think again. I
received a job offer after a short announcement of my hiring ran.
Let's get to the business of business journals. Both Orange county and Los Angeles have highly
respected business journals. The Los Angeles Business Journal can be found in most large
bookstores in the area. They are in the business of reporting business trends and political issues
surrounding the world of entrepreneurs and larger corporations. Study each one you are thinking
of pitching before adding them to a distribution list.
If you are in the business of high- end real estate, interior design or architecture, don't forget Los
Angeles Magazine. Orange county has a couple of equal value publications. These regional
magazines are generally aimed at audiences with a high income. Ads reveal target audiences.
SOME RULES TO KEEP IN MIND
Most publication don't report news which isn't happening in their distribution area. The exception
is publications that consider themselves national in scope. A good example of this happened years
back regarding the alleged attempt to put drugs in the poorer section of Los Angeles by a
governmental agency. The Los Angeles Times refused to deal with the subject and found
themselves very embarrassed when the San Jose Mercury News decided to take it on. The Merc
was one of the first to be distributed online. This was before the days that newspapers had their
own website. They used established resources to do the job like America Online.This situation
caused controversy for weeks. The Merc's presence online gave them an advantage when it came
to a national scope.
Both the Los Angeles and New York Times cover stories outside of their areas. The same goes
for USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor. Other than that, you are bruising your
knuckles banging on doors.
Know your media. Know your angle. Know whether or not it is newsworthy before you sit down
to put together a news release. Time lapses between submission, acceptance and publication are a
given. Always keep this in mind when planning events. Most newspapers will toss any
announcements with less than two weeks notice.
A FEW LAST THOUGHTS
If your business deals with any special expertise, make friends with local reporters. A good
example of this is are stock brokers and personal financial advisors, Business writers always need
reliable sources. Present them with outstanding press packets and include a business card that can
be added to a Rolodex.
There are a couple of well-known economists quoted constantly in the Wall Street Journal and the
Los Angeles Times. Make it your business to become a recognized expert in your chosen field.
Outstanding press kits, speaking engagements and column writing all go a long way to getting
you there Being quoted as a source in a well- known and respected newspaper is about as good as
You can also look forward to: phones ringing off the hook, finding a special consultant you'd been
searching for, people recognizing you in the street because of your photo and the most important
-- an increase in your bottom line.
None of this happens over night. Having your name quoted in the newspaper outdoes any
advertising campaign. Print publications put your name in print for only one reason -- you earned
Prepaid PR Service
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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