Opening Letters

So You Wanna Be In Volume One?

a quick guide to getting an article written about that thing you’re doing

Karline Koehler |

Hi folks. No preaching or reflecting today. I want to offer some tips/requests for those who are looking for some media coverage. I say these things so many times, via e-mail or over the phone, to people who want Volume One to do an article about them, that I figured printing them in 15,000 copies of the magazine might be helpful to someone. Clip it out and save it, if you feel so inclined.

Make it easy for us. 

We try really hard to stay on top of the Chippewa Valley scene, but we only know what people tell us. If you’re launching a new experimental theater troupe, send us a press kit with everything we need to know about you. This should include, at a minimum, a description of whatever you’ve got going on, photos, details on any upcoming events, and contact information. There might be more you should include, depending on the nature of the story: For a festival, include a full schedule of events. If you’re announcing your new book or CD, it would make sense to send a copy. You can call and follow up, but don’t be pushy. Also: electronic press kits are preferable. Paper is so old school, but it’ll do.

You can’t buy coverage, but in my experience, knowing what a publication is looking for and making all these materials readily available can move you to the top of the pile.

Give us the picture. 

Photos are such a tricky area that they’re getting their own section. If you’re sending a photo for us to consider printing, it must be high resolution – for our purposes, 300dpi at 6 inches wide will do nicely. If you’re not sure how all that works, ask your photographer friend. Photos for print need to be higher quality than photos for the web, so don’t assume that pic on your MySpace page is gonna cut it. (BTW, it is possible to take a small photo file and tweak it so the numbers meet these specifications, but you can’t make a high-quality picture out of a low-quality one.)

Do not dress photos up with hazy edges or the photographer’s name stamped in the corner or the name of your band really big across the middle of the photo. Do not send a composite of several photos stuck together. Do not send them in a Word document. Think simple and quality.

Know the territory. 

I suppose this should have been first, but I didn’t want to scare you off. Is your thing even within the editorial scope of Volume One? If it’s in the Chippewa Valley (for our purposes, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, and points between) and it has to do with arts/culture/entertainment (in a broad sense), then probably. Is it timely? Is it specificallylocal? Is it out of the ordinary? Does it affect the lives of people around here? All these things make a story a likely candidate for V1.

Be early. 

Say you’re planning a big ol’ outdoor park concert for July 2, and you think it would totally make sense for there to be a big ol’ article about it in Volume One. The issue before that, in which we’d want to cover it, comes out June 19. A writer would need to turn in the article by June 9, which means we’d have to have it assigned by June 2, which means I’d need to know about it (and have your aforementioned press kit in my hands) by about May 26 in order to figure out where it fits into the bigger scope of the magazine and start finding a writer. (But May 26 is Memorial Day, and I won’t be in until May 27, so I guess that’ll be OK.) Point being, that’s over a month in advance that we need to know about it, just to consider doing an article. Every day after that, it gets harder and harder to pull off.

If you’re late, don’t despair. Send us the information anyway and we’ll see if there’s something we can do with it, because we really want to tell people about cool stuff going on around here. And no matter when you’re telling us about an upcoming happening, don’t forget to…

Submit it for the calendar.

Memorize this address: If you’re organizing a show, lecture, anything the public’s welcome to attend, go to the Volume One website, click “Submit Event” at the top, and fill out the form. The Chippewa Valley thanks you.

E-mail us. 

If you want to tell us about something exciting that’s happening in the Chippewa Valley, or to get e-mail reminders of the calendar deadlines for each issue, drop me a line: