Send news and obituaries to email@example.com
Download our Writing an Effective Press Release here.
Download our 2019 Guidelines for Submitting News here.
Download our Letter to the Editor Policy here.
How to write and submit an effective press release
Welcome to The Observer News family of newspapers. Our goal is to reach all of South Hillsborough County with your community news and events in a timely manner. As a community newspaper we welcome your input and offer the following information to help make the process smooth and problem-free.
Things you need to know:
• Press releases are free, however, they are used on a space availability basis. We make every effort to include each submitted news article, and nearly every week we accomplish this. Paid advertising will always take precedence over free submissions. Our method of selection includes: The timeliness of the event (ie: if the event is a month away we may hold your article to make space for other events happening sooner), and the clarity of the submission. If your news article includes all the necessary information it will reduce the time our editing staff must spend on readying it for press.
• Deadlines: The deadline to submit a free press release is every Thursday at 4 p.m. The deadline for a paid advertisement is every Friday at 11 a.m., with exceptions on holidays for both.
• Methods of submitting your news:
- The preferred method is email and preferably pasted in the body of the email itself rather than attached. Send the article to firstname.lastname@example.org, or,
- Fax your release to 813-645-4118, or,
- Mail to The Observer News, 210 Woodland Estates Ave., SW, Ruskin, FL 33570.
• If you want to provide a photograph, make sure it is of the highest quality possible. With today’s digital cameras it’s easy to send a photo via email. If you only have a printed photo, you can mail or bring in the photo and we will scan it. If you scan the photo yourself, don’t try to edit or correct. Give us your instructions and we will make the adjustments for you.
• Announcements of events that are upcoming will take precedence over items that have already happened, although we do our best to include both.
• You may request that your article be published more than one time. Make this request clear and in writing, or re-submit the article each week. There is no guarantee that it will run additional times.
Guidelines for writing a press release:
• Brevity is always appreciated. Your event has a better chance of being published right away if it is 150 words or less.
• Always remember to include the five Ws: who, what, when, where and why.
• Include a photo or illustration when available. (See above instructions for submitting).
• Start your article by announcing the event, date and time. This should all be declared within the first paragraph.
• If the event requires early reservations, make that clear to us so we don’t just look at the date of the event and assume it should run that week.
• Include contact information so readers can ask questions if needed. Include a web address or email.
• Is there a cost for the event? Should attendees bring anything with them? Is the event open to everyone, or is it exclusive to a club, group or community? Include everything that is pertinent.
• When you have finished, read the article as if you are new to the area and know nothing about your neighborhood. Does it tell you everything you need to know? Who, what, when, where, why, and sometimes how?
• Save space and time by leaving out unnecessary comments like “everyone had a fun time,” or “the menu included….”
• While we appreciate every submission from groups in the communities we serve, we do not byline submissions. In the interest of space, that privilege is reserved for paid writers and columnists.
Letters to the Editor
- Letters to the Editor MUST include the writer’s full name, address, and other contact information (only your name and town will appear in print and online). We will NOT accept a letter from an unidentified source.
- Letters should be no more than 200 words.
- Letters may be edited by our staff for length, clarity and facts.
- The Observer News will only print letters that address a specific issue or article that may be of interest to the bulk of our readers.
- Submit Letters to: email@example.com, fax to 813-645-4118 or mail to The Observer News, 210 Woodland Estates Ave. SW, Ruskin, FL 33570.
We will not print material that is:
- Potentially libelous
Libel is any malicious, unsubstantiated or untrue statement about someone that damages their reputation.
- Discriminatory on any grounds
This includes discrimination based on age, ability, gender, religion or culture.
This includes any statement that is vulgar, profane or offensive.
This includes personal attacks, intimidation, bullying or threat of harm against a person or organization.
- Copyrighted or printed in another publication
All Letters must be an original writing by the signer and exclusive to The Observer News.
You may submit a letter commending an act of kindness or the honesty of a local business or person (with their permission) as a way to recognize and applaud an effort. However, a Letter to the Editor is not an opportunity to promote a business, service or product. If you’d like to promote a business, service or product, refer to our advertising rates and deadlines.
You must provide your full name, address and contact information upon submission (see above).
If your letter identifies another person, you must ask for their permission before submitting. We assume upon submission that you have consent from everyone mentioned.
Copyright and reprint permission
The writer of a Letter to the Editor maintains copyright of their letter. Any other individual or organization must seek permission from the writer if they wish to reprint a Letter to the Editor.