Submit a Story
Timing and deadlines
It is never too early to begin preparing to publicize a story. As soon as you have a firm date for an event, or a release date for a news story, get in touch with University Communications. Three weeks' notice is a good start. For a major event, it is best to begin preparation months in advance. Even if the date is not set, it is important to make University Communications aware of upcoming major events.
Submit a story or story idea at least three weeks before an event to allow for editing and scheduling (for posting online or pitching to the media). Some publications have deadlines of up to six months before publication. Stories on UTSA Today are posted two to five days before an event. News items for the UTSA News faculty-staff newsletter must be submitted at least one week before an event. (For details, see "Before you start writing" below.)
Gather the basics
The following information is essential for the communications staff to make a determination of how to work with you to pursue coverage. If possible, have this information ready before you contact University Communications.
>> Who is the target audience?
Students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, general public or other group?
>> What is the objective of the story?Are you trying to alert people before an event to draw attendance? Are you trying to draw attention to an achievement?
>> Why is the story newsworthy?
What distinguishes the story or event from others like it or makes it unique?
>> Before you start writing…
- Is the story appropriate for an internal or external audience, or both? University Communications staff will help you determine this.
- Stories should be single-spaced, double-spaced between paragraphs and with no indentation at the beginning of paragraphs.
- If available, submit a graphic (logo) or photo with the story including IDs and titles of those in the photo(s). Photos should be 312 pixels wide by 300 pixels high (approximately 4 inches by 4 inches). Photos of large groups do not work well; if there are more than six people, the faces won’t show up when the picture is sized and placed online.
- Most UTSA Today stories and news releases are 250-300 words, but they can be longer if necessary to convey important details.
- Does the story involve solicitation for participants in research? If so, the project must have approval from the UTSA Institutional Review Board.
- Submit a story or story idea at least three weeks before an event to allow for editing and scheduling (for posting online or pitching to the media). Some publications have deadlines of up to six months before publication.
- Last-minute stories are sometimes posted or distributed, but they are less likely to be effective and less likely to be used. (For example, if a story is published a day before or the day of an event, don’t expect it to generate attendance.)
- Stories on UTSA Today appear two to five days before an event. (Occasionally, a “mark-your-calendar” story may run a month before a major event.) Depending upon the number of new stories posted, a story may stay online for a few days to more than a week.
>> As you begin to write…
- To get started on a story, follow the classic journalism rule of answering these questions: who, what, when, where and why.
- Who is involved? Who won the award, gave the donation, will make the speech or is organizing the rally?
- Include noteworthy information about the main participants. For major events, include brief biographies of key participants -- accomplishments, positions held and publications.
- Write the story as if it’s for someone who is not familiar with UTSA. Be clear and descriptive. For example, always spell out building names including room number and UTSA campus. Include a contact name, email and phone number with area code (no parentheses: 210-458-0000).
- Don’t bury the lead; put the most important details first. Place background information lower in the story.
- Look at stories posted on UTSA Today for examples of writing style and length.
>> Be sure to include...
- Contact information including day and evening contact name, email and phone number(s)
- Sponsoring group(s) or individual(s)
- Open to the public (We generally feature events only if they are open to the campus or community.)
- Ticket information (price, where and when available)
- Registration fee, if registration is required or not
- Whether it is necessary to register -- if so -- how, where and deadlines
To report the death of a faculty member, staff member, retiree or other UTSA official, contact University Communications. Stories are published on UTSA Today. University Communications does not distribute obituaries to media. Generally, colleagues write a story about the individual. Obituaries should include:
- Full name
- Age (if the family agrees)
- Date of death, place of death
- Cause of death (if available)
- Employment history, connection to UTSA
- Contributions and activities related to UTSA
- Colleague comments
- Survivors (spouse, partner, children, sisters, brothers, parents, number of grandchildren)
- Services: time, date, place (if public)
- Where to make memorial gifts (include address and if flowers or memorial gifts will be accepted)
Contact University Communications and Marketing
Updated May 10, 2013