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A Guide to The Westfield Leader

and The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times 

The Westfield Leader and The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times, 116 years in business, are paid and mailed subscriber based weekly community newspapers. We are legal newspapers in Union County, NJ; Westfield, Mountainside, Fanwood and Scotch Plains. The Leader/Times are published "Inprint" each Thursday to approximately 8,000 homes with a "pass-through" readership of over 20,000 people. The newspapers cover the Town of Westfield, the Borough of Mountainside, the Township of Scotch Plains, the Borough of Fanwood, the Borough of Garwood and Union County. The Westfield Leader has been in continuous publication since 1890 and The Times since 1959. Also, our newspapers are published and archived in entirety on the Internet. On the web, we receive several hundreds of thousands of visitors each month, by those locally and by those around the world. Searchable archives from 1996 of the newspapers are available on our website - www.goleader.com. Microfilm archives are available in the Westfield Library dating back to 1904 and in the Scotch Plains library dating back to 1960.

goleader.com is the Internet arm of The Westfield Leader and The Scotch Plains - Fanwood Times and became live on the Internet on December 31, 1996. With the growth of Internet communications, goleader.com now receives hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the country and over the world. The preponderance of our visitors are residents and businesses from the region, repeat users, our newspaper subscribers, those in New Jersey, those previously from New Jersey and those directed to our site from the search engines.

Information for Stringers and Submissions:

The Newspaper: The newspaper, which is usually between 20 and 22 pages, is divided into the front and back section. The front and jump (where long front page stories continue) focus on breaking news stories, government meetings and important town occurrences - stories that are specially written for the paper and contain bylines. The jump contains the police blotter. Page four is the editorial page, which contains editorials and letters to the editor. The remainder of the front section includes wedding announcements, birth announcements, obituaries, educational news, community news, religious news and columns by area clergy members. Press releases make up part of the paper, along with some more in-depth features. The back section is headlined by "The Week in Sports", which contains coverage of Union County games and statistics. The "Arts & Entertainment" pages are typically last and are made up of entertainment-related features; reviews of theatre, books and local events; and the weekly "Popcorn" movie review column. The back section also includes classified ads, real estate news, legal advertising and extra community news.

Types of articles: A large part of our articles pertain to meeting coverage. Covering a meeting includes full attendance of the meeting, applicable post meeting interviews and photography of some of the issues relating to the meeting’s events. Some possible meetings and events that could be covered are Town Council meetings, Board of Education meetings (Westfield, Mountainside, Scotch Plains, Garwood, Fanwood), Board of Adjustment meetings and Planning Board meetings. At times we do investigative journalism which may include long-term probes of issues related to towns, their officials, etc. Conducting an interview requires thorough knowledge of the subject matter and the individuals involved in the story. Be sure, whether using a pen and paper or a tape recorder, to get all quotes accurately and to attribute them correctly to those involved. Sports articles require that the event be attended, stats provided and photos and applicable interviews conducted. Critiquing a theatrical production or music concert also requires attendance and commitment to staying throughout the event and interviewing those involved in order to supplement the story. Book reviews will be handled separately. Although we occasionally accept columns, we do not pay for the submission. Suggestions and ideas are always welcome. All assignments are made by the assignment editor, Paul J. Peyton.

Editorial Policy: Editorials are generally written by one staff-member and revised/edited by other editors. In-house copy-editors and senior editors review the stories emailed to us from stringers and check for reliability of the facts, proper grammar, clarity and language usage. Our in-house staff generally edits all stories for style, conformance and space considerations. It is  ensured that each story has a correct lead paragraph. If questions arise during the editing process, stringers  may be contacted for further information in order to clear up any discrepancies. Please be sure that you have supplied the in-house staff with a number and/or alternate telephone numbers where you may be reached. 

Newspaper Style: The Westfield Leader and The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times draw some aspects of style from The New York Times; referring to a Times style manual, which is available in the office, can eliminate some errors. More importantly, it is helpful to refer to well-written pieces in our newspapers. When writing a story, especially a news story, use the inverted-style, putting the most important information in the lead and working your way to the less important information in the story.

Style Elements to remember: 

General: Don't write in first person (not, I did this and I said that). Report objectively; while more colorful adjective and verbs can be used in sports, entertainment and feature stories, hard news stories should be completely objective and not suggest the writer's opinion.
Headline: Suggest a headline for your article; it is subject to change.
Numbers: Write out numbers one through nine (one, two, etc.) For all others, use the number (12, 146, etc.).

Percent: Write out the word; do not use the % symbol (or other keyboard symbols). When using a percent, always write out the number, even if it is 1 through 9.
Mr., Mrs. or Ms.: When first mentioning a person in an article, use his/her full name without a title. Then, replace the first name of individual upon the second mention of the person in an article.

Dr.: The title of Dr. is used only for medical doctors - those with PhDs or doctorates will not be referred to in this way.
Time of day: Morning or afternoon, are written as a.m. and p.m. in small letters with periods. (not AM or not PM).
Dates: Write without subscripts or superscripts. Example: September 14 should NOT be written as September 14th.
Subscripts or superscripts: Don't use them (caution: Word sometimes does this automatically). Spell out first grade, second place, etc.
Capitalization: Only for proper names of organizations. (Westfield Town Council); Use small letters for the borough, the council, the town, the board, etc.
List Commas: Do not put a comma before 'and' of a list. Ex.: Boy, girl and frog.
Spelling: Spell Check all documents with Word - do not have any red highlights shown.
Grammar: Grammar check all documents with Word - do not have any green highlights of grammar or punctuation.
Double Spaces: Eliminate all double spaces between sentences; sentences should be single spaced. The Replace function can help.
Underlining: Never underline, or use all caps unless it is the proper title for a magazine. Put in italics: movies, albums, operas, plays, magazines, newspapers Put in quotation marks: television shows, songs, books
Names: Use full name only once and provide the abbreviation in parentheses; for example: Westfield Board of Education (BOE); afterwards use only BOE.
Sentences: Keep them short, and avoid run-on sentences; limit use of compound sentences.
Background: Reader may be reading about this subject for the first time. Provide brief references; don’t assume they know everything about the story.
Lead/Introduction: In the first Paragraph, list important happenings. Write about important items first, not what happened chronologically.

Byline1: The author’s name is written in all caps: By PAUL J. PEYTON
Byline2: Reads: Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
Before the Lead: Include the town in which the story takes place in all caps: WESTFIELD – If the story spans several towns, write AREA – 

Writing Press Releases: When writing press releases, try to include concise information that quickly and efficiently tells the reader what is happening. If you're announcing or reporting on a certain event, it is good to include when and where the event occurred and some brief detail that gives the reader the general idea. Make prominent in the press release information that shows the local importance of the subject of the release. Including a few quotes is also an option. Also helpful is adding, at the end of the press release, a phone number, email address or street address that can be contacted for more information. When announcing a student's graduation from high school or college, selection for a Dean's List, etc., include when the student graduated, what degree he/she obtained, any honors or distinctions he/she achieved, and perhaps plans for the future, along with their parents' names and the high school from which they graduated. In the case of election to a Dean's, President's, etc. list, include the eligibility guidelines for this honor.

Example:

Richardson Graduates

From Kenyon College

WESTFIELD – Joanna Richardson, daughter of Philip Richardson and Diana Edkins of Westfield, received the Bachelor of Arts degree at the one hundred and seventy eighth commencement of Kenyon College, located in Gambier, Ohio, on Saturday, May 20.

United States senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) presented the commencement address.

Joanna graduated with a double major in international studies and Spanish.

Submitting Photos:  Quality photographs are a key component to layout of any newspaper or publication. We expect out staff to use digital cameras, the photos can than be brought to the office and downloaded or e-mailed to the appropriate editor. Photos should be at least 200 dpi resolution, JPEG format and in color. If you are attending a concert, board meeting or election night activity, always have a camera handy to capture a photograph to accompany your story. If you do not have a digital camera, speak to your editor about he availability of one of the in-house cameras. Most digital cameras today produce resolutions high enough for publishing in the newspaper (do not use low resolution, 72 dpi). Do not crop the photo. We will do this and make final contrast and color adjustments. The photo caption should provide the 5 W's - who, what, why, where and when.

Deadlines and Submission of Stories: All stories should be e-mailed by a cut and paste format into the text box of your email. Only photos should be sent as attachments. This is to ensure that viruses do not invade or disrupt our computer system. Articles should be e-mailed to the appropriate category: ae@goleader.com, community@goleader.com, editor@goleader.com, edu@goleader.com or sports@goleader.com. If you do not know which category the article should be sent to please send it to editor@goleader.com. Your stories should be submitted as early as possible in order to give our editors enough "lead time" to review them before publication. Check with your editor for due dates and times. If your meeting has been canceled at the last minute, your computer broke down or you are having trouble meeting your deadline, please call the office immediately at (908)232-4407, and speak with the publisher or assignment editor. If it is after business hours and no one is in the office, call Horace Corbin at (908)232-2882.

Professional Policy: A stringer shall not work for or submit stories and photographs to another newspaper or publications that is in direct competition with The Westfield Leader and The Times. Violation of this provision will result in dismissal of services. All articles, submittals and photos are the property of The Westfield Leader and The Times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Westfield Leader & The Scotch Plains-Fanwood TIMES
PO Box 250, 251 North Ave. West,  Westfield, NJ 07091
Tel 908 232-4407; fax 908 232-0473 contact
Copyright  www.goleader.com