Editorial: How things work around here

Originally appeared in Silent News, June 2001.

This month, I’m going to write about how things work at Silent News. This, hopefully, will offer you, the reader, a better idea of how the newspaper is operated, and help clear up some misconceptions.

We are located in an office park in Mount Laurel, N.J., about 10 minutes from the city of Philadelphia. We do not have any printing facilities in our building; rather, we send CDs with the issues to printers. Many students and visitors who come to our offices are shocked at either how big the offices are, or how small they are. I guess it’s all a matter of perception.

Our staff is small. We have less than 10 employees who work here in the office, and then many employees who work from home, such as our sports editor, marketing person, web designer/layout editor, and even myself. All of the employees, including me, directly report to our executive director, Adele Wiggins. I oversee the writers, photographers, and columnists who contribute to this newspaper. We do not have an advisory board yet, though I am working on getting one re-established – watch for announcements in upcoming issues of Silent News.

With that background in mind, here are some frequently asked questions, and answers.

I’ve got an idea for a story, or I’d like to send in a story for publication. What do I do?

Send an e-mail to our editor at editor@silentnews.com, and you will be contacted with further instructions and/or information.

I send in clippings, stories, or press releases. Yet I don’t see them printed. Why?

We get hundreds of these at the newspaper. If we printed them all, our newspaper would become 80 pages long and your subscription rates would double! Seriously, we wish we could reprint and print all the submissions we can. However, because we get so many, we must decide which is of highest priority or highest interest to our international audience. However, we ask that you continue to send the clippings, stories and/or releases to us. These clippings are how we find story ideas, people, and news.

When I send something in, I sometimes don’t see it printed until a month or two later. What’s the deal with this?

We print issues a month before the “real” month. For instance, we dropped off the June issue at the printer on May 17. Because of this, I accept stories up to three days prior to the drop-off date. My writers have a deadline of seven days before the printer date, so that we have that time to edit and fact-check. We often start working on the next issue two months prior; for example, we started working on the June issue in mid-April. To help you get a better idea of our schedule, we tend to go to the printer every third Wednesday of the month.

I’d like to share a wedding, a birth or an obituary. What do I do?

Our Milestones section, where all weddings, engagements, births and deaths are announced, is free of charge to subscribers. All photographs will be returned upon request (we prefer to have actual photographs than e-mailed photographs).

I have an old story or issue I’d like to look up. Where can I go to find archived issues?

We do not have our issues archived yet. If you would like to look for an old story, please contact us and we will look for the story. Please understand that when we say “look for the story,” we mean literally look for the story. We have copies of every issue dating back to 1969 in a storage room in the back, so we will go into that room and sit and thumb through old issues to find your story.

We are working on archiving issues on CD in .pdf format for our website, and hope to have this completed sometime in 2001. We also have issues on microfiche from 1969 to 1994. However, we are now exploring options of how to better archive and organize our stories. If you’ve got suggestions, or resources, let us know.

I’d like to order back issues or reprint a story. How?

To order back issues, contact us and we will give you rates. To reprint a story, you should e-mail us at editor@silentnews.com and request permission to reprint. Be sure to include where the story will be reprinted, and why. The editor will then send you the wording of how to list the permission, and/or approval of your request. You may also call us at (856) 802-1978 TTY.

I sometimes am frustrated with the late arrival of issues. Why does this happen?

The mailing house at the printer handles all our mailing. Our circulation manager e-mails a list of addresses and names to the mailing house in advance, then the mailing house takes care of the labeling, mailing, and postage. If you experience problems, be sure to check with your post office first. If you do not get your issue by the 15th of that month (i.e. June 15th), let us know.

We take our mailing very seriously; in fact, we changed our printer this month due to the poor mailing service of our previous mailing service – we received a huge pile of issues returned to us, because the labels had fallen off! We were upset, because we had specifically asked for ink-printed addresses, rather than label-printed addresses. For this reason alone, we decided to switch printers. We want to provide  readers with the best service possible.

I want to become a writer for Silent News. How can I?

Contact our editor at editor@silentnews.com, and you will be sent a copy of the Silent News writer guidelines. The guidelines describe our policies, how to write for us, and other important information. We are currently looking for writers of all walks of life, but especially need those who are hard of hearing, late-deafened, and of color. We also need writers from the southeast region and the Midwest, but again, we need as many writers as we can get.

Why are there so many advertisements in Silent News?

Actually, our newspaper is very ‘normal’ for advertisements. A general rule of thumb is to have 60% stories and 40% advertisements in the newspaper business. As is true for any magazine, newspaper, or newsletter, advertisements help pay for the running of our newspaper. With that, it’s important to have more people subscribe. With more subscriptions, we have less of a need for advertisements. So get your friends, family and coworkers to subscribe!

Our organization is holding a conference/event. I’d like to have Silent News sponsor it, or place an ad in our program book.

Contact our marketing representative at marketing@silentnews.com. We often are unable to provide sponsorship, because we are a very small organization with very limited resources. However, we are open to suggestions, and usually provide sponsorship in different methods.

I’d like to have someone from Silent News to come and give a presentation or workshop. Is this possible?

Absolutely! Contact either the executive director, Adele Wiggins, at adele@silentnews.com or the editor at editor@silentnews.com. We may also be contacted at (856) 802-1978 TTY or (856) 802-1977 voice.

Got more questions? E-mail or call us!

Copyrighted material. This article may not be copied, reproduced, or redistributed without the written consent of the author.

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