Tim Gallagher, the retired Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and publisher of The Albuquerque Tribune and the Ventura County Star, wrote a column in 2014 about what he would do differently if he returned to the news industry.
“I’d be far more transparent about how we do things,” he wrote, highlighting our industry’s news-gathering process.
For nearly 55 years, the Sedona Red Rock News has been a small-town community newspaper, so we cover issues that directly affect our residents. Arts events, musical performances, nonprofit fundraisers and activities, school events, contests open to the public, awards and achievements earned by residents, and stories that affect children, the elderly or the less fortunate make for great news items. The more people the story affects, the more likely it’s a good story for us to cover.
Sports reporter Daniel Hargis covers local school sportsteams and outdoor recreation.
Reporter and copy editor Rebekah Wahlberg covers the Sedona-Oak Creek School District and education stories while reporter and copy editor Makenna Lepowsky covers the environment and the arts. They edit almost all of the press releases, columns, photo captions and our reporters’ stories.
Reporter Kelcie Grega covers news from the Camp Verde and Cottonwood areas.
Grega, Wahlberg and Lepowsky also write feature stories, which are profiles of local individuals and events hosted by nonprofits and groups.
Photojournalists Jake Green and Hunt Mercier shoot stand-alone photos as well as photos to better illustrate news stories.
Typesetter Jo Page handles all the incoming press releases, columns and letters to the editor that I forward to her and often tips off reporters when a news item would make for a good bylined story.
They all have contacts in the community who suggest stories, or they find them while attending other events. If you think a particular news story would be best covered by a particular reporter, their contact information can be found at the end of their individual stories. Email is the best method, because if a news story is better served just as a press release or by another reporter, they can forward the entire message and get the item into our cycle for the week. If you see them out and about covering the news, introduce yourself and ask for a business card. We’re all down to earth and relatively friendly.
Press releases comprise the guts of the newspaper. They serve two purposes: To suggest story ideas to reporters and to be printed as written for readers. You can email us press releases describing the Five W’s: Who, what, when, where and why — as in, “Why should a reader want to attend?” Press releases don’t need to be intimidating to write — a 100-word press release can be just as effective as a 900-word release — and far easier to find a place for in the paper.
We edit all press releases for space, content and to conform to our house style, which is based on Associated Press style with Sedona-specific adaptations.
Include a photo or a mugshot of a speaker, if it applies, but make sure the photo is large, at least 1 megabyte, preferably at 200 to 300 dpi, otherwise they’re too small to use. A megabyte is equal to 1,024 kilobytes, so if your photo size is measured in “kb” it’s likely going to be way too small, and we’ll invariably email you back to ask for a bigger one.
If you’re not certain about some aspect of your release, or if we received it, you can always call us at 282-7795.
As the editor, I try to get in every press release and photo sent to me, but my available space is limited. If you send a press release the week of your event, I don’t have many opportunities to publish it. The sooner we get a press release, the more likely it is to run. Two weeks early is ideal. If a release doesn’t appear, don’t let that deter you from sending another in the future.
For me and my staff, news isn’t just a job. We know every story helps inform our residents about the goings-on in the community and the events, achievements and tragedies that happen to our neighbors. The NEWS isn’t just our newspaper — it’s yours.
Christopher Fox Graham
Newsroom Phone: 282-7795
Christopher Fox Graham - ext 129
Assistant Managing Editor / Senior Reporter / City / Police / Fire
Ron Eland - ext 122
Copy Editor / Education / Human Interest / General News
Rebekah Wahlberg - ext 117
Copy Editor / Arts / Environment / Human Interest / General News
Makenna Lepowksy - ext 126
Sports / Recreation
Jake Green - ext 123, Sedona newsroom
Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, Village of Oak Creek, Red Rock Loop Road area
Hunt Mercier - (928) 567-3341, Cottonwood newsroom
Cottonwood, Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Jerome, Cornville, Page Springs, Bridgeport, Verde Villages, Rimrock, Lake Montezuma
Jo Page - ext 133