Q: I WANT TO SUBMIT A STORY, PRESS RELEASE, OR PHOTOBLOG. HOW DOES THE MEMBER CENTER WORK?
A: For step-by-step instructions on how to use the Member Center, download the manual (pdf).
Q: I'VE NEVER WRITTEN A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE BEFORE - CAN I STILL WRITE A STORY FOR THE OBSERVER?
A: Absolutely! No experience or training is necessary. The Observer is open to ALL members of our community, and anyone who wishes to write about local news, events or issues is welcome to participate.
Q: I'D LIKE TO WRITE AN ARTICLE, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT. CAN YOU GIVE ME A TOPIC?
A: Since the Observer is a community newspaper, the subjects of articles are entirely determined by what's on the minds of local residents. We don't assign topics or control what people write about, but if you're stuck, we're here for you. Here are some ideas to help get you started:
- Write about what interests you. Do you know of a good bird-watching spot, an opportunity to volunteer in the community, or a news story that's been overlooked?
- Review a local event you've attended or hosted.
- Give your opinion on community news or issues.
- Put a local spin on state or national news. How do things happening outside our community affect us living here in Westlake and Bay Village?
If you're still having trouble, contact us and we'll work together to get you going. You can give us a call at: (440) 409-0114 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO FINISH A STORY? ARE THERE STRICT DEADLINES?
A: The timeline for writing and submitting articles is completely up to you. You can save an unfinished story in the Member Center and work on it for as long as you'd like until you're ready to submit.
In the case of time-sensitive articles, it is probably wise to write and submit as soon as possible. But again, that's up to you.
We print submitted stories on a first-come, first-served basis (with precedence given to time-sensitive pieces). As space becomes limited, all stories not printed in the current edition will be carried over to the next edition.
Q: IF I WRITE ONE ARTICLE, WILL I BE EXPECTED TO WRITE MORE?
A: No, there are no commitments! You can write as many or few articles as you please. You can write one article and never write again. Or you may choose to write a follow-up to a previous article, a series of articles on one topic or an article about a different subject every month. It's up to you.
Q: CAN I WRITE ABOUT ANYTHING I WANT?
A: Almost. We want people to feel free to voice their opinions, but we ask writers to refrain from the following:
- Abusive, disrespectful, slanderous or vulgar language
- False, unsupported or frivolous accusations
- Explicit promotion of a product or service
So basically, if you keep it clean, respectful and relevant to at least some members of our community, it's fit to print.
Q: DO WRITERS GET PAID?
A: The Westlake | Bay Village Observer is written by volunteers. What makes this news source unique is that it is a true community effort – written and produced by local citizens for the benefit of their neighbors and the community as a whole.
Q: HOW DO I GET MY EVENT TO APPEAR IN THE CALENDAR?
A: It's easy – just click on the "Submit New Event" button on the right-hand side of any page and enter the details of the event. Click "Submit" and your event is sent to us for approval and we'll post it online the same day.
Please Note: At this time we are trying to limit postings to just community events. Generally, if an event is being held in Westlake or Bay AND satisfies TWO of the following conditions:
(1) Is hosted/sponsored by a local non-profit organization,
(2) Is open to all members of the community,
(3) Is free to attend,
we'll be happy to share it with our readers.
Q: CAN I WRITE ABOUT MY BUSINESS?
A: We ask that writers refrain from writing articles solely to promote business products or services. All articles are reviewed to ensure that they are of interest to the community and follow these guidelines: (1) New business; (2) Major renovation/addition; or (3) Contributing or working in partnership with a local non-profit/charitable organization.