Good news sometimes arrives in unexpected ways. For example, I was dressed down recently by the volunteer head of publicity for a neighborhood non-profit organization who was upset because the Advocate hadn’t published information concerning the group’s event.

In all honesty, I told her, I didn’t recall receiving the information.

“Don’t you people know,” she persisted “how important you are as a source of information in this community?”

Well, I have a pretty good idea about our role in the community, but I’m glad to see that other people are discovering the Advocate’s neighborhood reach and impact.

With 44,000 Advocates distributed to households each month – more than 30,000 copies distributed directly to homes in target neighborhoods – it’s nice to know we’re making a difference.

You can help us continue to make a difference by keeping these tips in mind while preparing information for submission:

1) Whenever possible, type your information. Even legible handwriting sometimes leaves us wondering whether the cheerleader’s name is “Tonia” or “Tonya”.

2) Send pictures whenever possible, but send family heirlooms or anything you need returned at your own risk. Although black-and-white photos usually reproduce more clearly, a well-lit color photograph often works, too. And don’t forget to identify each person in the photograph. Without identification, your photo won’t be published. Period.

3) Clearly identify neighborhood involvement in your event. A Plano service organization means nothing to us, but the same organization led by a neighborhood resident is big news.

4) Don’t forget: Our deadline is typically near the 15th of each month. Sometimes, items that arrive a few days later can be published the following month, and sometimes they can’t.

5) Fax your news items to 341-0204, or call us at 341-3353. Feel free to stop by our offices at Skillman and Abrams in the Comerica Bank Building, too. But it’s a good idea to call first: We’re a small group, and we can’t afford full-time office staffing. Yet.

6) Finally, if it’s news to you, it’s probably news to us, too. That means it’s OK to toot your own horn, or that of your children, or your neighbor, or…

There’s a happy ending to my original story, too: Still smarting from the tongue-lashing, I received a call the next day from the same publicity director. This time, however, she was apologetic for her earlier complaint that we hadn’t publicized her group’s activities.

It seems the stamped envelope containing her press release for the Advocate had been functioning quite nicely as a placemat for a doll’s tea party being hosted by her daughter.