Feature Development


Sign-off and Distribution

Clip Reports

I would like my feature to coincide with a specific month, holiday or event. How far in advance should I plan?

Editors typically want materials for their special sections at least 2 months in advance. For this reason, it is important to plan ahead and follow our publicity planning calendar (PDF). We cannot guarantee results for timely features that are not distributed according to the timelines outlined in our publicity planning calendar. If you cannot plan 2 months in advance, we recommend "evergreen" topics — timeless features that will place year-round.

What is the best way to send my materials?

We prefer materials to be sent via e-mail to Genie Burn, Contract Manager, at [email protected].

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How long before I see my first draft?

We will do our best to send your draft as quickly as possible. Both your signed contract and materials must be in before work begins. To be fair to all clients, all work is done in the order it is received. Please allow 5 to 7 business days to receive your initial draft. See the editorial timeline for NewsUSA features (PDF) for more.

If I submit a matte release that is already written, will I see my NewsUSA draft sooner?

Not necessarily. Matte releases often require as much editing time as developing a feature from scratch. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that clients who submit a written matte release will see a faster turnaround.

Can you send my NewsUSA draft to me in a Word document?

No. The editorial department works on print-ready drafts that are created and edited in QuarkXpress. Upon request, however, we can send your draft via e-mail as an easily readable PDF file.

How should I send my edits?

  • By fax. This is the preferred method for fastest turnaround. Please mark your changes directly on the draft and fax it back to us at (703) 734-6314.
  • By e-mail. If you are sending edits via e-mail, please send detailed instructions indicating what changes to make, paragraph by paragraph. Please do not send a revised but unmarked Word document. We need to see what changes were made to the original draft.
  • Please do not phone in your edits. NewsUSA needs to retain a hard copy of all changes for editorial records.

What can I do to maximize my feature's placements in newspapers?

Because we provide an editorial service rather than traditional advertising, your feature will get maximum results if it follows journalism standards, is not too commercial and contains "news you can use," such as consumer tips. For more guidance, see these top 10 tips for writing effective news features (PDF).

Is it possible to add trademark symbols to my feature? Can I use textual tricks to make my product stand out?

No. NewsUSA edits and proofreads in accordance with The Associated Press Stylebook and recommends clients follow it as well. AP style prohibits the use of registration marks, trademark symbols, brand names in all uppercase letters and certain uses of italics, boldface copy, parentheses or quotation marks. Deviation from this accepted newspaper standard would negatively affect your placements. Thus, NewsUSA reserves the right to remove its placement guarantee at our editors' discretion.

For more information, see these additional notes on NewsUSA's editing style (PDF).

I would like to submit a pre-approved matte release to run "as is." Is this possible?

Yes, but NewsUSA will guarantee the results of your feature only when NewsUSA's editors are able to edit or revise the feature for grammar and compliance with AP style and other journalism standards. Because pre-approved copy may contain elements that could hinder pickup in newspapers, NewsUSA will not be held responsible if such features get few placements.

For more information, see these additional notes on NewsUSA's editing style (PDF).

Do you have a word limit on your features?

In general, the word count for a one-column feature is between 150 and 200 words; a two-column feature is about 350 words with a photo and 400 words without a photo; and a three-column feature is about 500 words with a photo and 550 words without a photo.

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Do photos enhance pickup?

As a general rule, yes. However, it depends on the content and quality of the photo. Photos should be clear and at a high resolution for printing. For maximum placements, choose "action" photos containing people. Product photos and logos hinder placements and are not recommended.

Do you provide photos?

Yes. NewsUSA has a photo library containing photos on a variety of subjects. Upon request, we can check to see if we have a suitable photo for your feature.

Is there an extra charge for photos?

Pictures from NewsUSA's photo library are free. You also may submit a high-resolution photo of your own. Please keep in mind that a photo would replace approximately 50 words of text.

How should I send photos?

Photos may be sent electronically as TIFF, JPEG, PICT or EPS files, or by mail. Photos sent electronically should be at least 3 inches square at 200 dots per inch.

For more on how to send your art, go to the "Sending Photos" section.

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I can't send my materials or sign off on time. Can I have an extension on the deadline(s)?

No. The deadlines listed on the NewsUSA Publicity Planning Calendar correspond with a predetermined production schedule. To ensure timely distribution for all of our clients, we must adhere to the materials and sign-off deadlines without exceptions. Clients who miss a particular print issue's deadlines automatically will be slated for the next issue.

How is my feature distributed?

Your feature is distributed in 4 ways: on our Web site (www.newsusa.com); via e-mail; CD-ROM; and in our camera-ready tabloid print issue. It will be posted to our Web site and sent to our list-serv subscribers (editors who have requested to receive our features by e-mail) within a week of your sign-off. The print distribution date of your feature depends on which sign-off deadline you meet. Our print issues go out twice a month. Please refer to our publicity planning calendar (PDF) for each print issue's materials and sign-off deadlines and the corresponding distribution date.

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When can I expect to see results from my feature?

You can expect to start seeing your placements 8 to 12 weeks from the print distribution date. Although your story may place much sooner, this is the time it takes for us to receive the clips from our clipping services and process your clip report. You will continue to receive clippings and reports for 18 months.

Do my features run in newspapers unedited?

Our goal at NewsUSA is to create our features in such a way that newspaper editors can use them as-is. That is why we strongly recommend following AP style and other journalism standards. The use of your feature, however, is completely at each newspaper editor's discretion. Editors are allowed to edit or change the story based on their needs and space limitations.

Can I track my clips online?

Yes. You can obtain a log-in number and password from Genie Burn, Contract Manager, at (703) 462-2041 or [email protected] after we process your first clip. (Please remember that your online clip report reflects the clips after they have been found and mailed to us by our clipping agencies and processed in our system, not as newspapers use your feature.) For additional information, see the section on clip reports.

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More questions? Get contact information for each NewsUSA department.

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