Communication Department

How to Submit News Stories for the

Pacific Union Recorder

Recorder news from the Southeastern California Conference is chosen by the conference communication department staff. Once a story is selected, facts must be gathered and verified, good photos found or taken, and the material must be edited for clarity and space available.

Steps toward publication

  1. Contact the communication department. Send news stories or ideas for stories that cover the ministry and activities people, churches, and schools in Southeastern California Conference to the communication department. You may contact us by e-mail or call our office. If you leave a message, tell us your name and the best way to contact you during business hours (Monday-Thursday).
  2. Supply key information. Who is involved? When did the event occur? What happened? Why is it interesting, important, or valuable to share with others? Is this event or ministry or activity notable for its size--large or small? Of course, be sure your facts and dates are accurate and that names and places are spelled correctly.
  3. Include good photos. Good photos will enhance a good story, and may actually make a weak story usable. On the other hand, poor photos may reduce the value of a good story or cause it to be set aside completely. (Review our "Tips for Photographers.")
  4. Provide follow-up opportunities. Be prepared with the name and contact information for others involved in the ministry or activity.
  5. Send news, not promotion. News usually reports what has already happened--but very recently. News is not advertising, promotion, or a prediction that something good will happen. Advertising may take the form of announcements sent to SECC approximately 10 weeks before the event, if the event is free. Advertising may also be accomplished by purchasing a classified ad or a display ad in the Recorder.
  6. Be brief but complete. Most published stories are 500 words or less, but must not leave out key information. If you are not an experienced writer, the communication staff will assist you in writing and condensing the material.

What criteria guide us in choosing Recorder articles?

1. Is it newsworthy? As the old saying goes, if a dog bites a man, it's not news. If a man bites a dog, it is! What aspect of your story is new? or significant? or interesting?

-A cooking school is probably not news for the Recorder--many Adventist churches conduct them. But suppose you conducted a cooking school for blind people? for children? for men? or for single people? What if you featured both vegan and vegetarian cooking? or included a variety of ethnic dishes? Such approaches would be new.
-A mission trip may not be news for the Recorder--many Adventist churches and schools conduct them. But suppose you have an entire Sabbath school class that makes the trip, or some complete families? Suppose the volunteers are nearly all women, or are mostly 60 years old or older? Or suppose the project has an unusual aspect--costly in terms of travel and supplies, very far away, primitive, or assists people who live in unbelievable poverty? Does the project benefit Muslims or Buddhists or other non-Christians? Were there unusual circumstances such as extremely good or bad weather, lost luggage, significant answers to prayer?
-An evangelistic meeting may not be news for the Recorder--many Adventist churches conduct them. Is this first evangelistic meeting conducted in many years? Is the response unusually good compared with previous attempts? Have some of those baptized done so despite very difficult obstacles? Have some of those baptized actually been attending church for many years and finally made a decision? Did some of those baptized learn about Adventists through the Internet or by hearing sermons on their iPods?

2. Is it timely? The more quickly you can report your story, the better. Because of printing schedules, stories normally are not published until eight or 10 weeks after they are edited. If you share information with us within two weeks or a month, it is quite timely. If three or four months have passed, the story will probably not be used.

3. Does it demonstrate diversity? We want to showcase the great diversity in SECC. We look for stories that feature women and men, a variety of age groups, culture and language specific groups, and the various geographical areas of our conference. We want to highlight both large and small churches and schools. Because this conference is large, we normally don't publish articles from the same church or school more than once a year, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

4. Is it innovative? Your unique approach to ministry may inspire others to try a similar ministry. How and when did the idea occur? What was involved in making the dream come true? What obstacles had to be overcome? Was it worth it? What are the results of this ministry?

5. Is it historical? Does the event reveal the longevity and positive influence of a church or school over time? If celebrating a particular anniversary, document key people, dates, and events in the past. What is the cumulative effect? How many students have graduated from the school in 100 years? How has the church persevered through difficult times? If it is a new or renovated building, how will it improve and expand ministry? Remember, history can be boring if it's just a recitation.

6. Is it interesting? Although an event may be recent, show the diversity of your school or church, or record a historical moment, it may be dull. What caught people's attention at this event? What made an impact? Was something appropriately humorous or exciting? Is there a tragedy, intriguing problem, or crisis to explain?

Why are some stories not used?

  1. Similar stories from our conference may have been published recently or already are in the works.
  2. Basic facts are sketchy. The story is unclear and disorganized.
  3. Nothing appears to be new or newsworthy.
  4. You cannot be contacted easily to provide more information.
  5. It does not fit the mix of stories needed to show SECC's diversity.
  6. The information is routine.
  7. The writing lacks life.
  8. Space is limited. (The conference has 36 pages for SECC news each year in the Recorder).
  9. The photos supplied are poor quality.