For some reason on New Year's Day, I always think of a Pennsylvania Dutch saying a co-worker used to always say before closing: "It's time to red up the room."
In layman's terms, it means it's time to clean up. And of all of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of resolutions I've made over the years, cleaning up is one I've managed to keep — to various degrees, of course.
This job is a lot of paper. It's easy to throw away the items that don't have any relevance to our area or our readers.
But at the same time, I hoard a lot of papers: clippings from other newspapers or magazines from across the country with story ideas I might use for our paper; press releases about people or events that would make a great story; handouts; and notes on possible contacts.
And that's not even the thousands of papers we receive a month for calendar listings.
So as I try to continue to be more organized this year and battle the paper beast, I'm asking for help from the people who submit press releases for The Herald-Mail's calendar of events. Here are some guidelines:
• Make sure to get the basics. Every event should include the name of the event, time, date, place, cost, contact name, phone number, email address or website, and a line or two describing the event. The more information we can share with readers, the better.
• If you have a photo, go ahead and send it. I can't promise we will use it, but with our Top Five for Your Planner, we are constantly looking for pictures. We prefer you email them to email@example.com in JPG format. Be sure to clearly and accurately identify who's in the picture.
• Go paperless if possible. Instead of snail-mailing items, use email if you have access. If you have a listing, go to www.allhagerstown.net, sign up for a free user ID, and fill in the blanks. If you do that, I'll receive an email the next morning notifying me of the online submission. Or you can email listings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• When you know, let us know. Even if your event isn't for several months, let us know if you have settled on the dates. Shoot me an email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to give me a heads up. Be sure to include dates and contact information. This will help because we plan out at least a month ahead. Knowing about your event early will help it to not get lost in the paper shuffle. Also, having the information early will allow us to include your event in any extended calendars or related stories.
Any help to cut down on the waste will be appreciated. And maybe it'll be a little easier to red up my desk.
Crystal Schelle is Lifestyle editor of The Herald-Mail. She can be reached at 301-791-7136 or by email at email@example.com.