The members of the Sedona Welcomers invited me speak at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 25, on the dual topics of journalism and performance poetry, two aspects of writing that comprise my professional and personal life.
Regarding performance poetry, about which I could speak for days, I invite curious residents to see firsthand by attending one of the poetry slams we poets host at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre; the next one is Saturday, Feb. 4.
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Regarding journalism, I am always willing to speak to local organizations that want to know more about our profession in general and about the Sedona Red Rock News in particular.
Press releases from residents form the backbone of our newspaper. These are sent in by readers and residents promoting their nonprofits, clubs or organizations and the events, classes, festivals and community offerings. Events that are free and open to the public get priority as they will appeal to more readers than events that cost admission.
Business press releases announce grand openings, new managers, employees of the month or year, employee promotions and retirements.
All our guidelines for these types of events can be found on our website under the “Submit a press release” link at the bottom of the page. We have written an extensive guide for those readers who may have never written or submitted a press release before. We sincerely want to hear about your event.
Members of the Sedona Welcomers also asked about how we choose which letters to the editor to run. The guidelines are simple: 300 words or less, no personal attacks, facts must include documentation. Authors must provide their full names, home addresses and phone numbers so that if we have questions about a sentence, we can call and clarify.
If you disagree with a person in a news story or with one of my editorials, I am more than happy to run your letter. We don’t pick and choose based on content.
The few letters we don’t run are usually those sent in from readers outside the Verde Valley, or from authors who decline to put their name, or provide no documented source for their facts, calling them into question. If there is a question of fact, I email the authors back to clarify what they mean or ask them to provide a source for their data, which most can provide; they just forgot.
Despite this handful, we probably run about 95 percent of the letters we receive.
If you have an opinion about the direction of our city, county, state or country, or commentary about a news story, editorial, column or another letter, write to us about it. I would rather have to spill excess letters onto Page 5A than be shorthanded on Page 4A.
As many readers can attest, I am also more than willing to reply to emails asking why we ran certain news stories or to explain further if they have questions. I try to be as straightforward and detailed as possible when explaining the hows and whys of our news coverage or editorial stances. Even if you disagree, please send us a letter.
We have a dynamic newsroom and my staff are quite knowledgeable about issues we cover. Each of our reporters has their name, email address and phone number and the bottom of the news stories if you want to contact them directly.