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Write An Article

Have you heard of a “slow news day”? In small towns most days are slow news days. Front pages of small town newspapers may feature a local soccer match or a lost dog. This means that getting an article published in a small, local newspaper is not that difficult. Small town newspaper editors are usually very friendly and welcome well written, interesting articles that fill up their pages with little effort on their part. Often you can talk to the editor him/herself. Start a relationship, and the editor will come to depend on you for news about Lyme disease.

To write your article, you should have some facts and figures from your state or county to back up your points. Do some research before you start. But remember that the human story and basic information is all most readers are interested in. Don’t get lost in esoteric details because you know much more than the average person. Bring in a quote from a credentialed expert on your side (Ask permission!) and use some good 'sound bites.'

A reporter may want to write his/her own story, based on an interview with you and information you provide. The reporter may ask you to supply names of other people in the area who are willing to be interviewed.

Suffering from writer's block (or non-writer's block)? Borrow shamelessly from the articles provided above. Then make that phone call. Do it today!

The PROCESS:

1. Look in your yellow pages under Newspapers. Make a list of newspaper names and phone numbers, leaving several blank lines after each entry. You can also locate newspapers in your area by searching the online US Newpaper List [http://www.usnpl.com/]; papers are listed by state.

2. Call each paper and ask for the health or features editor or the name of the person you should talk to about running an article on Lyme disease during Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Sometimes you will get into interesting conversations with newspaper staff, like the one who told me, "Oh yes, I 'had' that. Now I have fibromyalgia." Write down the person’s name and take notes on any other information they offer.

3. Ask whether they will run an article on Lyme disease for Lyme Disease Awareness Month, if so, how many words they want. Often 500 words is a good limit to shoot for.

4. Ask for the name and email address of the person to send it to. Write all this information down. (Later I created an email list on my computer email program of these folks in my area, so I could email them all at once.)

5. Ask if they want any graphics and if they need 200dpi (dots per inch). That's pretty standard. I have a file full of graphics I have collected over the years; maybe you can find some, too. Use the Goodsearch search tool, put “CALDA” in the Who do you search for? blank and search by keyword. Or if that is too difficult, let the paper find their own graphics.

6. Ask when their deadline is and meet it.

7. After you send the article, call to find out if your contact person has got it. You may want to call again in a few days or a week to see if the project is still on track. Things can get lost in piles on desks. Things also can get lost in email inboxes.

8. Save your list. It will be handy next year when you do this again!

9. Report your success to your Lyme groups and associates. Tell people what didn’t work as well as what did. You may help and inspire someone else!