How to make news
News we can use
Every month, you open your copy of The Rotarian and read about people just like you who are working on great service projects just like yours. Occasionally, you say to yourself, Hey, why don’t I ever see my club in here?
In any given month, a sizable number of the 1.2 million Rotarians in the more than 34,000 clubs around the world ask the same question. Letters, e-mails, faxes, and packages from them arrive at the offices of The Rotarian daily, each delivering news of an admirable Rotary club or district effort.
Despite the hard work that goes into each of these projects, only a small percentage ever gets highlighted in the magazine; there simply isn’t enough space to cover everything.
So what tips the scales in favor of the submissions that end up as magazine articles?
1. Great photos. Strong photographs greatly increase your chance of receiving coverage. The best photos are compelling action shots – a doctor performing surgery, a polio immunization team at work, villagers pumping water from their new well. We prefer to receive digital photos by e-mail or on a CD. Remember to set your camera to the highest setting:
- Images must be at least 300 dots per inch and at least 5x7 inches (this will result in an image file of roughly 10 MB).
- The file format must be either .tif or .jpg. Photos embedded in Word documents, Powerpoint presentations, PDFs, or e-mail are not usable.
2. A newsworthy story. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it timely? Keep in mind that we work at least five months ahead, so news received on 1 July would appear in the December issue, at the earliest.
- Is it unusual? Point out what makes your project unique or innovative. Everyone holds fundraisers – what makes yours interesting enough to be included in The Rotarian?
- Can other clubs adopt it? Let us know if the project has been, or could easily be, replicated by other clubs.
- How did you measure the result?
- Who was helped? Is there an inspiring story to be told?
If we decide to cover your story, we’ll contact you for more information, so don’t forget to include the names and phone numbers of the Rotarians who made the project happen.
Contact the editors at
One Rotary Center
1560 Sherman Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201-3698 USA
The fatal six
To increase the chances of your club’s work being featured in The Rotarian, here’s what to avoid:
1. Orchestrated group shots or photos of people shaking hands, receiving checks, or otherwise posed and smiling for the camera
2. News of fundraising dinners, check presentations, and dedication ceremonies that didn’t involve much action
3. Stories that reveal a strong political bias
4. Accounts of district conferences or other meetings
5. Requests for publicity to help get a project off the ground
6. Projects that do not comply with Rotary Marks guidelines