How to Submit a Story to Local News: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you a budding journalist or a passionate citizen who has a story to tell, but don’t know how to get it published in your local news outlet? Worry not, because we have got you covered. In this article, we will guide you through the process of submitting your story to local news, from understanding the submission guidelines to crafting a compelling story and promoting it after publication.


Submitting a story to the local newspaper office
Submitting a story to the local newspaper office

The importance of local news cannot be overstated. It’s the backbone of a community, providing vital information and insights into the events, issues, and people that shape our neighborhoods. Local news is also a platform for citizen journalism, where ordinary people can share their stories and experiences, giving voice to the voiceless and holding those in power accountable.

Understanding the Guidelines

Preparing a printed story and relevant images for submission
Preparing a printed story and relevant images for submission

Before you submit your story to a local news outlet, it’s essential to do your research and understand their submission guidelines. Every publication has its own set of rules and expectations when it comes to accepting and publishing content. Some may prefer articles in a specific format, while others may have specific word count requirements or deadlines.

The first step is to research the local news outlets in your area. Check out their websites and look for information on their submission guidelines. You can also reach out to the editors or reporters to get a better understanding of their requirements and preferences.

Once you have a good understanding of the publication’s guidelines, make sure to read them carefully and follow them to the letter. Failure to do so can result in your story being rejected outright, regardless of its quality.

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Crafting Your Story

Crafting a compelling story that resonates with the readers is crucial for getting your story published in local news. To do this, you need to identify the angle of your story. What is the unique perspective or angle that you can bring to the story? What makes it newsworthy or relevant to the readers?

Once you have identified the angle, it’s time to structure your story. A typical news story follows a pyramid structure, with the most important information at the top and the supporting details at the bottom. Make sure to include the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the story in the opening paragraphs.

Another crucial element of a news story is the headline. A good headline is concise, attention-grabbing, and accurately reflects the content of the story. It should also incorporate relevant keywords to make it more discoverable in search engines.

Preparing the Submission

After you have crafted your story, it’s time to prepare it for submission. The first step is to edit and proofread it thoroughly. Make sure to check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and sentence structure. You can also use online tools like Grammarly or Hemingway to help you with this process.

Next, gather relevant images or videos to accompany your story. Visuals can help to enhance the impact of your story and make it more appealing to readers. Make sure to follow the publication’s guidelines for image and video submissions.

Finally, prepare a brief author bio to accompany your story. This should include your name, any relevant credentials or affiliations, and a brief summary of your background. This can help to establish your credibility as a writer and make it easier for the editor to contact you if they have any questions or concerns.

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Submitting Your Story

Once you have crafted your story and are confident that it meets the publication’s guidelines, it’s time to submit it. There are usually three ways to submit your story to local news outlets: via email, online form, or in-person.

If the publication accepts email submissions, make sure to follow the submission guidelines and include all the necessary information, such as your name, contact information, and a brief author bio. Attach your story in the preferred format, whether it’s a Word document or a Google Doc, and make sure to proofread it carefully before sending it.

If the publication has an online form, fill it out as accurately as possible. Double-check your contact information and author bio, and copy and paste your story into the appropriate field. Again, make sure to proofread your story before submitting it.

In some cases, you may be able to submit your story in-person by dropping it off at the publication’s office. This option is usually available for smaller, community-based newspapers or magazines. Make sure to call ahead and confirm that this is an option before showing up with your story.

Follow-up and Promotion

Submitting your story is just the beginning. Once it’s been accepted and published, it’s essential to follow up with the editor and promote your story. Following up with the editor shows that you are engaged and interested in the publication, which can lead to future opportunities.

You can follow up with an email or phone call, thanking the editor for publishing your story and asking if there are any other topics or stories they would like you to cover in the future. This can help you build a relationship with the publication and increase your chances of getting published again.

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Promoting your story is also crucial to getting it seen by a wider audience. Share it on your social media channels, and ask your friends and family to share it as well. Engage with readers who comment on your story, answering any questions or concerns they may have. This can help you build a following and establish yourself as a credible writer in your community.

In conclusion, submitting your story to local news outlets can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By understanding the submission guidelines, crafting a compelling story, and promoting it after publication, you can increase your chances of getting published and make a positive impact on your community. So, what are you waiting for? Start writing and submitting your stories today!

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