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What’s Your Story? A Guide to Getting Your News in The Washington Post

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A Guide to Getting Your News In The Washington Post

Every day The Washington Post receives hundreds of news tips from community and business leaders, government workers, parents, cab drivers, students and people from all over the metropolitan area. Many tips become items on or in the next day’s paper. Some even provide the first break in a major story that has a profound impact on affairs in the capital, the nation and the world.

Unfortunately, there is never enough space in any single edition to print everything that is written in our newsroom that day. Only about 180,000 words — a fraction of the more than 2 million words written each day by more than 500 Post reporters, editors, web producers and foreign correspondents -- is printed in the newspaper. Far more is included on our Web site, but there is much cut in the editing process.

Here are some hints on how to give your story idea the best chance of being used

· Decide which section of the newspaper would be most interested in your story. If it is in connection with high school sports, contact the sports editors; local business, the business editors; local news, the metro editors. E-mail is the best way to make an initial contact, but you may also call or write a letter.

· If your story is in connection with something you read in The Post, contact the reporter whose byline is on the article. The e-mail address of Post reporters is printed at the bottom of every story in the newspaper. On-line, you may click on the reporter’s byline and receive biographical information about the author, a selection of recent stories written by that author and a form for submitting a comment. Use that form to submit your story idea.

· Include as many names and facts as you can. And remember, even if you don’t include the other side of the story, The Post will cover both sides in the interest of fairness.

· Do not expect to be paid. As a matter of policy, The Post neither accepts gifts or payments from people who offer news or information, nor does it pay for news tips it receives. Do not be discouraged to discover your story has already been covered or that somebody else has submitted the information before you. Instead, continue to keep The Postin mind and call again.

The Metro section is not the only place for local news

Many local stories are published both in the daily Metro section and on the local news home page ( But not all Metro news is published in the newspaper. Some items are published only on-line. Other stories and event listings are published only for residents of one particular county or area. To accommodate these reports, The Post publishes community news as part of Thursday’s Local Living section. These sections target areas including Arlington-Alexandria, Prince George’s, Prince William, Montgomery, the District, Fairfax, Loudoun and Southern Maryland.

Getting your news to us

Q. I believe I have a story for The Post. What do I do?

A. If it’s a “fast-breaking” local story—a fire or accident involving injury, a robbery or something similar—call the proper authorities first, then send an e-mail to or call the local news desk at 202-334-7300. If the story is not a breaking news story, e-mail the appropriate section (contact info at the bottom of the page) and describe your story in detail.

Q. The organization I represent is holding an important news conference within the next 24 hours. How do I let The Post know it is happening?

A.The best way to alert the newsroom of an upcoming event is to e-mail the local news staff at , but on short notice you may want to call the local news desk at 202-334-7300. Please contact the newsroom as far in advance as possible. This gives you a better chance for coverage.

Q. I have taken a photo and video of flooding in my neighborhood. Would The Post be interested in running these?

A. Yes. Readers may e-mail breaking news photos to us at Send the image as a jpeg and provide as much information about the story as possible. For the video, send an e-mail describing the scene to . In either case, an editor will contact you before The Post will agree to use your material. Your photo or video will not be considered without the following information: your name, address and phone number.

Q. What happens when I e-mail or call a reporter or columnist?

A. E-mails sent to the address at the bottom of a story, or messages sent by clicking on a reporter’s byline on are the best way to make an initial contact with a reporter. Writers and columnists often use readers’ tips and comments as ideas for articles and leads for news stories. All Post staffers are urged to answer reader e-mails, but because of the volume of tips, comments and messages we receive we cannot promise that each note will receive an individual response.

If you call our newsroom, you may find a writer or reporter available and ready to talk, or your call may be forwarded to a voice mailbox if the reporter is away from the desk. If the reporter is unavailable and you do not want to leave a voice message, you will be redirected back to a news aide who should be able to help.

Q. What happens when I send something in or call a story in to The Post?

A. E-mails and letters not directed to a specific staff member will be read by a news aide. A call to any of the numbers listed in this guide will probably be answered first by a news aide. News aides are trained to look for and check facts, and can write up simple news items and carry them through to publication. If a story warrants a reporter or photographer, an editor will dispatch them to the scene. The editor, reporter and photographer are responsible for carrying the story through to publication in print or on line.

Q. I called a story in last week and The Post never printed it. Why?

A. There are many reasons why an item does not make it into the paper. Perhaps your story only appeared on-line. Or maybe the suggestion came in on a day when there were many news items of higher priority. Don’t give up. Continue to contact The Post whenever you have something that you think the paper should print.

Q. Can I get school, community, club or entertainment event from my neighborhood listed in The Post?

A.Yes. Community calendars run in every Local Living section and contain information about events that would be of interest mainly to people living in that region. To submit an item, send it to one of the following e-mail addresses, depending on where you live:



Prince William:


Southern Maryland:

Prince George’s:



Include event names, dates, times, an exact address, prices and a publishable contact number. All items must be received at least 14 days before publication.

Q. My community is holding a literary event. Can I havee it listed in The Post?

A.Yes. Listings for literary events also may be sent to the Community Calendar address above for use in Local Living. Sometimes these events are grouped into the Local Living “Going Out Guide” which highlights nightlife and entertainment in your community. The Going Out Guide is compiled by editors from items submitted for the community calendar and material available on , The Post’s on-line source for all entertainment, dining and nightlife in the D.C. region.

Q. I am planning an event that would be of interest beyond my community, can I get that listed in The Post?

A.Yes. Send your listings information to The Post publishes general interest “Going Out Guides” in Weekend on Friday, The Washington Post Magazine on Sunday, and in the Style section on Monday and Tuesday. The items listed in the newspaper, however, are a fraction of the many event picks, movie reviews, restaurant listings and nightlife options listed online at

Q. What about getting religious announcements or events listed in The Post?

A. Retirements, new appointments, ordainments, awards and upcoming religious events are listed on Saturday’s On Faith page. Items for In Brief should be sent to the religion editor at at least two weeks prior to the event and should include the name and telephone number of a contact person.

Q. An important member of our staff is being promoted to vice president.

A. Send biographical information and details about the promotion of your staff member to The column runs in Monday’s CAPITAL BUSINESS section inside the A section and online.

Q. Our company is also sponsoring a local technology seminar that is open to the public. Whom do I contact at The Post about this?

A. Send basic information about business events to . Please put the event date in the subject line and send the announcement at least two weeks before the event. This column also runs in Monday’s CAPITAL BUSINESS section inside the A section and online.

Q. My children are interested in reading the newspaper. Do you publish anything specifically for them?

A.Yes. The Post publishes KidsPost behind the comics pages Monday through Thursday for 8- to-13-year-olds. The page contains news summaries, features, graphics, photos and puzzles. For more information, visit . On Sunday, the Mini-Page is a pull-out in the middle of the Comics section aimed at 6- to- 12-year-olds. It contains a similar mix of material.

Q. I’m hopping mad about the way The Post covered a news story. I want to register a protest.

A. You may direct your comments to the reader representative, who helps make sure reader questions and complaints are directed to the right place and are responded to appropriately. The reader representative also answers questions from time to time on the Ask The Post blog. The best way to access the reader representative is through email at

Q. I want to express my point of view about a story in the news.

A. The quickest, most direct way to comment about developments in the news is by clicking on the comments button on if it is available for that story.

You can also send your comments to or write to Letters to the Editor, c/o The Editorial Page. Letters to be published in the print edition are selected for widest public interest and reflect views of a range of The Post readers. Your letter may appear in the daily Letters to the Editor, on the Free for All page on Saturdays, or in Local Opinions in Metro on Sundays. Not all comments are published. Writers whose letters are under consideration for publication will be contacted, so please include home, work and cell phone numbers so that we may contact you for verification.

Letters must be fewer than 200 words and exclusive to The Washington Post. They may not have been submitted, posted to, or published by any other media. They must include the writer's home address, e-mail address, and home and business telephone numbers. Anonymous letters will not be considered, nor does The Post permit the use of pseudonyms.

Opinion page editors read every letter they receive. Due to space limitations, however, all letters are subject to abridgment. Because of the volume of letters we receive (an average of 1,400 letters each week), editors cannot respond individually to the authors of letters we are unable to use.

Q. How do I request a news obituary or place a paid death notice in The Post?

A. The Post has two ways of announcing a death: news obituaries and death notices.

A news obituary is a biographical news article written by a reporter. The Post welcomes suggestions for news obituaries. To request a news obituary, please complete this form or email us at We are not able to guarantee publication, but we review all requests and will contact you if we are able to assign a reporter to the story.

A paid death notice is a classified advertisement that usually includes information about funeral services, burial or personal remembrances. Costs vary according to the length of a death notice and whether a photograph is desired. Death notices may be placed by calling the Classified Advertising department at 202-334-4122 or by e-mailing

Q. My daughter has become engaged to be married and I want to announce it in The Post. Will I have to pay for this?

A. Yes. Paid announcements of weddings, engagements and anniversaries appear in Sunday’s Arts & Style section. To place an order or for more information, go to or call 202-334-5736. All materials for the following Sunday’s paper must be received by Monday. Announcements of birthdays, graduations and other special events run in the Local Living section. Use the weddings e-mail or telephone number for those items.

Which desk should I contact?

· NEWS Happening Now

Send an e-mail to or call 202-334-7300. (Note: If police, fire department or rescue squads are needed, be sure to contact them first.)

· Education stories

Send an e-mail to one of our education reporters (see address at the bottom of every story)

· Crime stories

Send an email to one of our crime reporters (see address at the bottom of every story) or contact our crime editors at

· Corrections

To contact the newsroom for a correction to a story, e-mail or call 202-334-6100 and ask to be connected to the desk involved (National, Foreign, Style, Metro, Sports or any of the weekly sections). Contact information for corrections can also be found in the corrections box on Page A2.

· Reader Representative

Address comments, complaints or questions about Post content to: .

· Letters to the Editor

Send commentary submitted for publication to: or write Letters to the Editor, c/o Editorial Page.

· News Obituaries

To request a news obituary, please complete this form or email us at

· Paid Announcements (Classified advertising rates apply)

Weddings, engagements, anniversaries and birth announcements: or call 202.334.5736.

In Memoriam and Deaths: or call 202-334-4122

· Promotion Announcements

Send items about business promotions to

· Religion events

Send items to

Making sure your news release gets to the right person

News releases should be e-mailed. Before sending your news release, make sure the person receiving the information is the correct recipient. If in doubt, send the release to the department’s inbox and the release will be distributed to the correct reporter.

Department contacts


National: national@washpost.comBusiness: business@washpost.comSports: sports@washpost.comForeign:

Style & Arts: style@washpost.comObituaries: newsobits@washpost.comLocal Living:

Books: bookworld@washpost.comFood: food@washpost.comHealth & Science: health-science@washpost.comTravel:

Date each release and begin with the most newsworthy item or items. And be prepared to provide additional facts and data if and when a reporter calls.

Place letterhead (full name and address of your organization) at the top of your release with the name and telephone number of the person to contact for more information. Don’t forget to indicate the date the story may be printed (release date).

Contacting Us

News, Circulation and Advertising department contacts may be found on page A2 or A4 of each day’s edition of The Washington Post.

To correspond through the postal service

The Washington Post

1150 15th St. NW,

Washington, D.C. 20071

Identify the recipient by name and department (Metro News, National News, Real Estate Advertising, etc) on the cover of all letters and packages.

Direct access to newsroom departments

Main Switchboard: 202-334-6000 (to contact any department)

Local news: or 202-334-7300 National: or 202-334-7410

Business: or 202-334-7320

Sports: or 202-334-7350

Foreign: or 202-334-7400

Style: or 202-334-7535

Book World: or 202-334-7882

Food: or 202-334-7575

Health & Science: or 202-334-5031

Local Living: or 202-334-4409

Travel: or 202-334-7750Photojournalism and video: 202-334-7380 / 202-334-4655Graphics and Design: 202-334-7380

Outlook: or 202-334-7573

Real Estate: or 202-334-6365 / 202-334-7320

Washington Post Magazine: or 202-334-7585

Weekend: or 202-334-6808

Local news bureaus

Annapolis/ Southern Maryland: 410-263-8040

Alexandria-Arlington: 703-518-3000

Fairfax: 703-383-5100

Loudoun: 703-771-4102

Manassas: 703-392-1303

Montgomery: 301-294-2600

Prince George ’s: 301-618-1720

Prince William: 703- 392-1303

Richmond: 804-649-7575

Other departments


Classified: 202-334-6200; Display: 202-334-7642


1-800-753-POST / 202-334-6100

On the web

To contact news departments, purchase an ad, subscribe to the newspaper, or learn more about The Washington Post and The Washington Post Company, follow links under CONTACT US at the bottom of every page at