Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Need some help

We are talking in the newsroom about our "blurbs" as we call them. Basically these are announcements of local events, happenings, etc.

We are trying to strike a balance between honoring the wishes of the people submitting the blurgs and honoring the wishes of readers.

Here is an example of what we currently publish:

Cleveland County Memorial Library will host ghost story writer Nancy Roberts Monday, July 25, at 7 p.m. The event is free of charge for adults and school-age children, but tickets need to be picked up at the library.
After her presentation Ms. Roberts will be available for a book signing. Books will be provided for purchase and light refreshments will be served. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library.
Ms. Roberts is the author of more than 25 books about the supernatural, including "Civil War Ghost Stories and Legends," "Blackbeard and other Pirates of the Atlantic Coast" and "Haunted Houses: Chilling Tales from American Homes."
A storyteller dedicated to inspiring students to read, she has performed at seminars, on radio and television and at hundreds of schools and libraries across the South. If you have questions, please call Dolores Ashworth at (704) 487-9069, ext. 237.

Now, here is what we are proposing to do to shorten blurbs like this one:

Ghost stories
Author and teller of ghost stories Nancy Roberts will be at Cleveland County Memorial Library on Monday, July 25, at 7 p.m. After a presentation, she will sign books, which will be available for purchase. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free of charge for adults and school-age children, but tickets need to be picked up at the library. The event is co-sponsored by Friends of the Library. Contact: Dolores Ashworth, (704) 487-9069, ext. 237.

Advantages to longer blurb
1) Tells everything the person who submitted it wants
2) Gives more complete information to readers

Advantages to shorter blurb
1) Respects that readers are pressed for time and gives them basic info quickly
2) Takes up less space which means we can run blurbs "farther out" from the event and more often.

Which do you prefer? Comments?



Anonymous said...

Think it's perfectly legitimate to edit "blurbs" but not re-write them and leave out information . . . like the names of the LOCAL sponsors for an event. (How can they be expected to contribute to the community when they don't even get credit for their involvement in the LOCAL paper?) Also, think it's important to track how many times a single "blurb" is published, some appear more frequently than others.

Anonymous said...

Listing sponsors ddoesn't give readers any useful info. If the paper is tight on space and long on blurbs, the more condensed information the better.

Now excuse me while I watch a tape delay broadcast brough to you by Memorex of the 2004 AT&T Rose Bowl brought to you by Sears.

Right now, Michigan leads Texas 7-0 on the Professional Pharmacy scoreboard.

See how annoying sponsors can get?

Event, date, time, place, contact info. That's all you need.

Anonymous said...

I agree, listing sponsors can get annoying. Ever watch a nascar event? However, without them my friend, who will pay for the paper and ink you print with? The subscribers? And who will pay for your webspace? The cookie fairy? I think not. There won't be a Shelby Star, and we may all see Mr. Foster standing in an already long, unemployment line. Like it or not, if we want their money, we must agree to give them proper credit.

Anonymous said...

Please keep them short - many of us won't bother to read the wordy ones. Just make us thirsty to attend. I think it's the paper's job to edit -- most of us (me included) are not writers by profession. You folk are.

If we want more info, we can visit the www address that you'll surely give so we may read all about Ms. Roberts and HER MANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS to our heart's content.