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Piece of Mind: Publicity chairmen, welcome to our world

September 01, 2010|By Carol Cormaci

I invited Mick Caruso, our talented page designer, community-event press-release wrangler and all-around good guy into my office yesterday morning to talk about how we might make his life a little easier as the school and social season get underway this month and new publicity chairmen are assigned to tout their many activities in the Valley Sun.

If you have never met Mick, please take my word that he is normally a soft-spoken, good-humored and very patient sort of fellow.

So I was bemused when Mick's eyes nearly popped out of his head and his face turned red when I asked him if he had any advice he'd like me to pass on in this space regarding how best to publicize your La Cañada organization. He used polite words, but I could hear the frustration in his voice.

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Mick swears that at least half of the press releases we receive are missing key information. In those cases he's forced to track down the sender and beg for something that should have been given to us in the first place.

"It's unbelievable. What ever happened to the rule that everyone include the who, what, when and where [of an event]?" he practically shouted at me.

I feel his pain because we split the duties of trying to sort through all the press releases that come our way, deciding which ones might lead to bylined articles by our reporters and which are better suited to calendar items.

Cheer up, volunteers — you are in good company. Mick and I have both noticed that paid professionals who send us releases often omit key information too. And worse, there are a few of those pros who also send us four-page descriptions of a single upcoming event, complete with biographies of all participants. We don't need that much. Really.

We do need the name of the organization, what event is planned, where and when it will be held. If you're providing us with a press release after an event has taken place, still include all that same information, plus, if you have them, the names of La Cañada residents who participated. And please confirm that you have given us the correct spelling of all names. We also want your phone number and/or the names and numbers of other key people to contact in case we have a question.

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