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September 1, 2011
Debra Lordan
Editor/General Manager

What the writer criticized as a discontinuity in the movie, I thought perfectly reflected an average day of newspaper business as usual—a series of interruptions punctuated with phone calls, emails, deadlines and more interruptions. It is messy, people. Very messy.

This reference to the complexities and enigma of the newspaper industry incited me to shed some light on how the messiness might affect John Q. Public, and mainly, Bob and Barbara, the businesspeople.

How does an industrious entrepreneur get through to an editor? What is that magical something that will assure that your important press release catches her eye? How do you communicate with your local paper in order to get your incredible story inked?

This is a very hot topic these days, especially for those on a tight budget. Because, who isn’t.

Well, this so-called secret can be summed up in one sentence. “Help me help you.”

A busy newspaper editor may not have the time or resources to interview you about your new product line, service or nonprofit event, but would be ecstatically happy to receive a well-written press release about it along with a high-resolution photo or two.

The essential elements you need to impart to that messy newsroom are the five W’s—who, what, when, where, why. Go ahead and throw a “how” in there as needed. Be sure to include your “media contact” information so we, the media, can contact you easily.

There is a wealth of information available on the Internet about writing press releases and pitching stories. It isn’t a mystery or a secret. It is simple common sense mixed with good old-fashioned elbow grease.

The payoff, if you are successful, will enable your news to be spread far and wide in the Maui Weekly, with 10,250 issues mailed directly to South Maui residents, and another 6,000-plus copies delivered to businesses from Mākena to Mā‘alaea and from Hāna to Wailuku. Including our Website ( and other electronic means, add another 4,000 readers per week. That’s over 20,000 paper and virtual copies.



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