How not to get published
May 12, 2011
A handy guide from your friendly neighborhood editor on how to make sure your story never sees the light of day.
- Send me a press release in all caps.
- Pitch it using the phrase “I think people would really appreciate hearing some good news, for once.”
- Come to the office in person and start our conversation with, “Are you the editor??”
- Come to the office in person and look me up and down two or three times before beginning to speak to me.
- Send me an email that begins, “Dear sir,”
- Bypass me entirely and talk to a six-foot male reporter instead, presuming he must be The Editor.
- Take more than three minutes to explain your idea.
- Refuse to identify yourself, or identify yourself but remind me every three sentences that your name is NOT to be mentioned in print.
- Explain to me at length how the local government is out to get you.
- Ask me where I go to church.
- Hand me explanatory pamphlets educating me on your religious choices.
- Presume that I agree with your religious or political views.
- Ask me when we started running this… this… LIBERAL COLUMNIST! (Bonus points if you look at me as if I’ve stabbed you in the heart by doing so.)
- Start sentences with, “Now, we’re not a racially based organization…” and, “This is not to say I have anything against the Mexicans…”
- Call me three times before even sending the press release, just to make sure that you can send the press release.
- Keep me on the phone for more than six minutes.
- Start your pitch, “How much will it cost to do a story on…”
- Ask me why I never run letters to the editor, then glare at me suspiciously when I explain that we receive maybe one letter a month and ask if you’ve written any lately.
- Tell me all about how you studied journalism in school, once. (Bonus points if you feel this qualifies you to tell me How I’m Doing It All Wrong.)
- Refuse to believe that the newspaper is not a branch of the local government. And not see why I’m having to hold back my laughter as I say, “No, ma’am; that would make us North Korea.”
Now you know.