It's easy to get published in the paper

By CLAY MCFERRIN,

Many people received the Jan. 30 print copy of The Sun-Sentinel on a complimentary basis.

That’s because we conducted a mass mailing this week in Tallahatchie County and environs to help distribute our locally-produced phone book.

We hope that those who found a copy of The Phone Book tucked inside their newspaper will see it as a valuable resource. We invite feedback.

Speaking of invitations, this is a good time to remind everyone about the importance of public interaction with their newspaper.

Take a look at practically any newspaper and you will find that a majority of their photographs are submitted from outside sources.

In the case of daily newspapers, many of the pictures come from “the wire,” that is, the Associated Press, Reuters or some other news agency to which the publication subscribes or in which it has membership. Others may be taken by a staff photographer or reporters.

Most weekly newspapers, especially small community-based publications like The Sun-Sentinel, don’t have news wire service, so we rely heavily on the submission of photos and other items from the general public.

Of course, we prefer that, because it helps to ensure that the bulk of our material is hyperlocal, as a county newspaper’s content should be. Isn’t that why you read your local paper — to get local information?

Contributions of photographs and news items are invited, encouraged and anticipated. We want pictures and accounts of the events that are important in the lives of our readers.

Sure, post on Facebook, Instagram or other social media, too, but don’t forget the newspaper.  Besides, everything that goes into the print version of the paper is posted on The Sun-Sentinel's website at www.tallahatchienews.ms. (You'll find us on Facebook, too.)

Because The Sun-Sentinel has such a small staff, we very much appreciate and the contributions of the community, whether through submitting social news items, a church baptism, a picture of a hunter with a trophy buck, a fisherman with the big one that didn’t get away, an item of sports news, a couple who are celebrating 50 years of marriage, or practically anything in between.

Your newspaper welcomes everything from write-ups about club meetings, family reunions and vacations, to community announcements, letters to the editor, and birth, engagement and wedding articles. Most items are free.

There is so much happening every day in Tallahatchie County, especially on the weekends.  We would love to be able to personally cover every event, but physical limitations prohibit us.  And to be honest, wife Krista and I have two small grandchildren now and try to squeeze in every spare moment of family time that we can get.

Always remember that our presence at one event and absence from another does not speak to how much or how little we value the newsworthiness of either.

One thing that I have learned while working in this business for over 37 years is that there is no insignificant story. Every event, every incident, is important in the eyes of someone, so it is worthy in a general news sense, too.

If we are not able to cover your event, don’t think that you cannot have it published in the newspaper.  Help us.

These days, more so than ever before, anyone can be a contributing writer and submit information, along with a photo, to the paper. In other words, you or someone you know can be the reporter and photographer for  your club, church, organization or event.

Technology has made it so that anyone with a smartphone can take a photo that will reproduce well in the newspaper. Most modern cellphones take great pictures that are easy to share.

One tip: If your phone’s message app or your computer’s email program asks, specify that you want to send pictures to us in full, original size/quality. On the iPhone, for instance, you would select the “actual size” option when prompted.

With photos, include the name of the photographer so that we can give credit; same for the writer of any narrative.

List the names of people in photos. Identify them — please use their first and last name, not just “Mr. Jones” or “Miss Sally” — from left to right.  If there is more than one clear row of people, try to identify them as front row (from left to right), second row (from left to right), etc.

If you have a computer or a cellphone with internet service, you can send that photo and news item to us via email without ever leaving the comfort of your home.  (To be perfectly honest, we prefer items  to be submitted electronically when possible, but we won’t reject most items simply because they are submitted on a sheet of paper.)

Whether mailing or emailing us, include your name and a good daytime telephone number so that we may contact you if additional information is needed.

Part of The Sun-Sentinel’s mission is to reflect what happens in the lives of the local people and communities that we serve. Without your submissions, that would not be possible.

Feel free to call us at 662-647-8462; write to The Sun-Sentinel, P.O. Box 250, Charleston, MS 38921; email clay@charlestonsun.net; or stop by our office at 149 Court Square in Charleston with any questions or suggestions.