Puzzled? Maybe this column will help with submission questions
By Linda Albert | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There appears to be some confusion on the process of having photos submitted by the community for publication in the Life sections of The Daily Times. I’m only going to speak for my Sunday section here; if there are questions on other days, please check with Melanie Tucker, the editor in charge of those.
In the Sunday section, we make it clear that club news photos, community photos such as class reunion photos, etc., run only as we have space, if the photos will reproduce properly and if we have the necessary identifying information. The number and the size of contributed photos running any particular week depend on how many features, announcements and paid advertisements must run that Sunday.
Recently we had some concerns over the size of a photograph that ran. When it was submitted, I told the submitter it would run as space became available. Now, let me explain how that works: When the copy editor begins building the pages, she decides where each item needs to go based on the length of each piece of copy, the number of photos we have and if an information box is included. She uses a list of all the content for the week that I prepare for her along with the measurement of each piece of copy, from the main story on the front page to each announcement and brief. If something does not have a time factor attached and I’m concerned about getting everything in, I will note if it can hold over for the next week. This is why you may not find my column every week; if it comes down to getting community events and interesting people features in, I don’t run it.
Fitting all the content in these six pages, as throughout any newspaper or other print publication, is similar to working a puzzle. The copy editor decides where to place each individual component, making it as visually appealing to the reader as possible. Features and wedding, engagement and anniversary announcements come first. The daily calendar must be included. Briefs, news releases from outside parties and club news, whether text or photos, as well as other photos contributed from the community come next. They fill in the spaces that remain. If I’m as well-blessed with copy as I’ve been for the past several weeks, they will run smaller; if the opposite case occurs, they may run larger. It’s all part of fitting the puzzle together, both in timing of publication and in the size of the final product. That’s what we mean by “space available.” When you contribute a photo, you do so with that understanding, knowing that as a free service provided to the community, we cannot guarantee any more than that.
Now, if you would like to have a photograph published on a certain day and at a certain size, our advertising department is the place to go. The ad staff will be more than happy to hear what your wishes are and to create an ad according to those wishes. The price will depend on the size of the ad.
A caller recently told me she expected a submitted photo would have run the size of an 8- by 10-inch print and was disappointed it had not. I can assure you, that will never happen. Even the main photos shot by Daily Times’ professional photographers to run with the front-page feature won’t appear at that size. These can run as large as 10 inches (6 columns) by 6 inches, going horizontally from margin to margin. Again, the copy editor doing the pagination makes that determination based on the puzzle pieces she’s been given.
I hope this answers some of the questions. Just keep in mind that we are doing the best we can to represent all our citizens. If that requires leaving out my column, cutting my own copy to fit or cutting other copy to fit — or running a submitted photo at whatever size the copy editor feels it needs to be in order to publish it in a more timely matter — that’s what we will do.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. Her column runs every Sunday in the Life section. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)