The Roanoke Times hosted an extremely useful networking event earlier tonight at Schalls on Campbell. As a result of attending that event, I met editors who are interested in covering the events and activities that I am responsible for. This makes it much easier to write articles and press releases which will be accepted for publication.
About 65 of us enjoyed selections from Schall’s fine cocktail menu and sipped on bottled water while publisher Wendy Zomparelli and her editorial staff suggested ways we could connect more effectively to our communities through the Roanoke Times. Most of the talk was aimed at giving us an understanding of what areas each editor covered.
After the presentation, the publisher opened the floor up to questions and addressed topics ranging from correction of mistakes to handling of news and quotes. Once the questions and answers was over, the networking began in earnest.
I made a beeline for Seth Gitner, Roanoke Times Multimedia Editor, to see if his TimesCast VideoBlog held any promise for exporting video clips of artisans at work. The jury is still out on whether there will be a good fit between Jacksonville Center artisans and TimesCast, but pert Jenny Kinkade Boone has created a Virginia version of RocketBoom which may eventually expand to cover artistic topics as well as light news tidbits. If such a development occurs, it could be another way to expose the arts to a wider audience.
I also had a chance to meet Mark Morrison, New River Valley Editor. Mark is responsible for the NRV Current section of the Roanoke Times which has provided special feature articles on Floyd and the Jacksonville Center in the past. He brought his family to the Jacksonville Center a few months ago and I invited him to return and explore some other attractions like the upcoming WinterFest at the Center.
This event gave me a much better understanding of how to handle press releases and business news and who at the Roanoke Times is responsible for each type of item. They also gave each attendee a well-designed reference sheet that covers print and online advertising as well as submission of news items.
The Roanoke Times is to be commended for making it easier to communicate with them and use their services. They had already gained my approval by listing my weblog in the New River Valley section of Roanoke.com.
I was inspired by this event to arrange a similar meeting with another paper. The editor was delighted to oblige. I am looking forward to this next meeting and hope it will be similarly productive.