Hot Off the Press!

Newsletter Publishing Made Easy

Editor: RoseMary Honnold Spring 2002

Library Plans Newsletter

Determines Purpose
What are the goals and objectives of writing this newsletter? What is the expected outcome? Who is the target audience? What are their interests? What will they do as a result of reading the newsletter? The answers to those questions will help when choosing a message strategy. Is the newsletter intended to provide entertainment, information or be persuasive?
Reviews Budget
The newsletter budget will influence the quality, format and frequency of the publication. The paper, ink, and printer quality
and choosing among a newspaper, magazine or online formats will affect production costs. Frequency depends on the life of the information and the expected production costs of each issue. Staff time, office space, supplies, and number of copies are other factors affecting the costs of producing a newsletter.
Chooses Editor
An editor for the newsletter needs the ability to work well with the publisher (the supervisor requesting a newsletter publication) and the staff in other departments. He or she will also need desktop publishing, writing and editing skills.
An Interview With The Editor!
The Teen Advisory Board of the Coshocton Public Library published a newsletter written for and by teens. This interview with the editor exposes those trade secrets for working with teens to produce a newsletter!
See page 2 for the inside scoop!

New Editor Begins Writing

Sets Schedule
Over estimate the length of time you need to produce the first issue and schedule backwards from the proposed date the audience will receive copies. After the first issue, adjust schedule where needed.
Creates Title and Banner
Newsletter titles that have dual meanings speak to target audiences. Modified communication words also make good titles. The title should be placed in a banner at the top of the newsletter and include an editorial statement. The statement will say who the newsletter is for and why it is being published.
Selects Standing Columns
Standing columns have reserved spaces in each issue. Included may be a table of contents, announcements, news notes, a calendar of events or a letter from the editor.
Collects Stories
The editor may write all the stories, researching and gathering information from other departments. A form requiring necessary details for a news story can help collect the needed information from other staff. The editor can then set his own timeline, deadlines and all the stories will be written in the same style. Stories solicited from other staff or patrons may attract more varied interest, but the editor will need to set deadlines and edit the articles. News and interviews of interest to the target audience add appeal. Stories should use the present tense, simple words and strong verbs.
Makes Headlines
Headlines are short with short words and a verb is included or implied. Headlines are relevant to the story and are specific so the reader knows what the story will be about.
Edits Fluff
Edit stories for clarity and correct word usage. Avoid cliches and wordiness. Write effective sentences in logical order with effective information. When you need to save space, cut intros and conclusions, and leave the meat of the story. Cut fluff quotes and redundant information.
Proofreads and Proofreads
Use spell check and a dictionary. Read stories aloud. Ask someone else to proofread. You will read what you meant to say, not what is actually written!

Visit Mesa Public Library's
"Open Shelf" . Open Shelf has been in existence for 25 years and is a teen newsletter available online and in print!

Graphics Add Pizazz

Adds Photos
Photos should be all color or all black and white. Color printing will add expense to the publication, but adds appeal. Photos need to be big enough to see clearly. A small photo of a single person or single object works, but a group photo needs to be large enough to identify the people in it. The photos should be all formal or all informal poses.
Writes Captions
Captions need to relate to the photos and add information to the stories. Readers will look at photos and captions first.
Selects Artwork
Artwork can be scanned and imported into a publication. Editorial cartoons or original artwork could be a regular feature. Advise the artist on size and clarity so the finished work will look satisfactory. Cartoon conversation balloons need to be large enough to print clearly.
Fills in with Clip Art
Clip art can fill in white spaces and add emphasis to a story. Check if copy permission is granted by the copyright owner.
Questions use of Color
Color can add expense to the printing process but also adds emphasis. Adding color by using colored paper or colored ink can add a little zip without adding a lot of expense.
Places Ruler Lines
Ruler Lines can divide stories and separate columns for clarity. Some newsletter templates have ruler lines around every element.

Visit the TAB Update of the
Grace A. Dow Memorial Library.

Newsletter Production Begins

Chooses Type
Select one type family that has a variety of weights, sizes and italics for a uniform and easy to read publication.
Develops Design
Each page needs to look balanced. Balance can be achieved symetrically by placing elements evenly over the page. Asymmetrical balance uses evenly weighted but different elements. A large graphic can balance a large headline, for example. Use correct proportions on
each page. A 2:3 or 3:5 (golden mean) ratio looks better, never cut the page in half. The natural sequences readers will follow are left to right, big to smaller, dark to light, color to black and white, odd shapes to regular shapes and bright colors to muted colors. They will look high on a single page first and the outer margins of a two page spread first. The frontpage should include a banner with the title, a table of contents, a feature headline and story, and graphics. Push white spaces to the outside edges. Headlines are bolder and larger than the story type.
Determines Layout
Make a list of the stories in order of importance. When running out of space, cut from the bottom of the list. The standing columns have a reserved space. Copyfit the articles and graphics.

Printers To Be Named

Prints Proof
Print a proof copy of the newsletter to check for balance and design and errors. Do not depend on how the newsletter looks on the computer screen. Proofread one more time.
Chooses Print Method
Professional printers need longer lead time, are more expensive, but produce a better quality publication. Photocopiers are
less expensive and in house which shortens lead time, but will produce a lower quality copy. Computer laser printers produce good quality copies but are expensive. Most office printers are unable to print a 11" x 17" copy for a four page folded newsletter. Stencil printers are fast and relatively inexpensive but produce a lower quality copy. Your budget and the desired quality will determine which method will work best for you. Photos are where you will see the biggest loss in quality.
Oversees Final Work
Additional finishing touches are needed after printing. Fold the newsletter if it is two or more pages on one sheet. Holepunch the newsletter for a binder if it is intended for the recipients to keep them. Staple sheets together if they are printed separately.

Newsletters Seen Everywhere

Newsletters By Mail
Postal regulations may require newsletters to be folded to a certain size and in a certain direction to be mailed without envelopes. Address labels are faster and easier than writing addresses and the database can be edited to add or delete recipients at each printing.
Bulk Delivery Available
Delivery to schools, churches, or other popular places is an inexpensive and efficient method of getting the newsletter into the hands of your target audience.
Pick Up At The Library
Distribute in house at service desks, pamphlet racks, and pass out to program attendees. Hand them to patrons individually and point out an article of interest.

Publisher Evaluates Results

Publisher Polls Readers
Have the objectives and goals of the newsletter been met? Measurable results can be collected by conducting surveys and polls. Ask patrons if they read the newsletter. Ask program attendees where they heard about the programs. Increase in program attendance and increased circulation on featured materials would be indicators that the newsletter is meeting its purpose.

©2001 RoseMary Honnold. This page was developed as part of my Hot Off the Press presentation for the Ohio Library Council Chapter Conferences in March, 2002. Links updated 11/25/03.

Editor Reveals Sources

1. Beach, Mark. 1995. Editing Your Newsletter 4th ed. Writer's Digest Books: Cincinnati.

2. Bivins, Thomas H. 1992. Fundamentals of Successful Newsletters. NTC Business Books: Lincolnwood.

Visit Wired @ Carver, a newsletter published by the teens of the Carver Branch of the Austin Public Library. It is available in PDF format.

My Homepage

©2012, 2002 RoseMary Honnold.