Telling It Like It Is
Whenever the holidays come around, the Canarsie Courier gets overwhelmed with phone calls about receiving coverage for holiday shows and programs, along with tree lighting ceremonies happening all over the community. There must have been over a dozen school-oriented functions and even more civic holiday parties than anyone can arrange to have catered.
Some organizations took the educated and thoughtful route – they called our office and notified us of their planned events at least two weeks prior to their function. Of course, it’s so much easier to schedule a photographer/ writer to cover the event in a timely fashion so that everything is coordinated with ease.
We enjoy bringing our readers all the nice human interest stories as they happen – absent of crime and negative news – but it’s only respectable that organizations reach out to us weeks (and at least 10 days) BEFORE an event is scheduled.
You can’t just invite someone to a wedding three days before and suddenly expect them to be prepared - or not have prior obligations.
Yes, as a newspaper, there are many on-the-spot events and incidents – such as crime, accidents and other hard news - that happen during our business hours – that we can expediently cover. These are usually 20 minute photo opportunities that we can investigate a few days later for details.
However, if your organization has an hour or an hour and a half-long function that requires someone being there and getting a full story, it would be nice if we knew about it waaaaay in advance so we could provide efficient coverage.
While I was at the United Canarsie South Civic Association meeting last week, the subject of absentees at local meetings was once again discussed. I agree that most people aren’t motivated to come out the way they used to be. But if you don’t publicize your function in a timely manner BEFORE it even happens, how do you expect people to show up? Not having an interest and not being informed in advance are two different problems.
Let’s get real – SOME organizations don’t even inform the community of their going-ons until a few days before it happens and others don’t call our office until the day before when they suddenly “remember” they needed coverage.
I’ve gotten a slew of phone calls about events happening within 24 hours and we haven’t even had enough time to assign anyone to the story. As a small community newspaper that only comes out once a week, I don’t think it’s too much to ask organization leaders to let us know about elaborate, planned functions a week or two in advance. Their members obviously found our phone number to get the word out, why didn’t they think of it weeks before?
There are “emergency” meetings held by elected officials, which we try to accommodate, and then there are events that organizations have known about and planned for weeks. Some meetings or functions might not require a reporter present. If the topic of the event can be discussed over the phone, we will gladly follow through with the story.
If you’re a civic organization that wants to keep us - and the community - apprised of what you’ve got going on, you can even list your function in the Community Guide section of our paper. However, timing is everything and if you’d like us to accommodate your event, it’s greatly appreciated if you respect our deadlines and time notifications. Don’t deprive your community of a well planned and covered event.