We try hard at the Advocate to support groups and individuals who are working to improve life in our neighborhoods. Sometimes we’re able to do a short story about a project or provide a calendar listing, while other times we are honored to become sponsors of an event or project important to our home.

For example, in this month’s Advocate, you’ll find a special promotion for the Lakewood PreSchool PTA Home Tour and Craft Fair, a neighborhood institution that is being sponsored for the first time this year by Advocate Community Newspapers, our parent company.

We’ve joined forces with these volunteers because they are spending their time and energy to raise funds to benefit children at a neighborhood school, and because they’ve demonstrated over the years that the Home Tour and Craft Fair have attracted thousands of neighborhood residents.

Perhaps you are involved with a project and would like our assistance in publicizing it. If so, here’s how to approach us with your idea.

• Prepare a brief, written summary of the event’s history, beneficiaries, annual amount of funds raised and people assisted through the project, dates and times, and what specifically you’d like us to do. Remember: We can’t help everyone, although we certainly try, so help us identify an issue that sets your project apart from others.
• Submit the written summary far in advance of your project, preferably six to 12 months before the event. We schedule sponsorships throughout the year, and advance planning helps ensure that a variety of groups representing a variety of causes are assisted.
• Don’t be discouraged if we can’t sponsor your project. We receive many requests for Advocate sponsorships, and our ability to help is strictly limited by our advertising support (more on that later). But rest assured that we’ll do our best to list your event in the Community Calendar section or Neighborhood News Roundup column, space permitting.

What are we looking for in terms of sponsorships?

Although a number of factors are weighed, we like to work with groups that have developed a track record of success and who are helping a large number of neighborhood residents. Start-up projects are encouraged to apply, of course, but several years of commitment to a project or goal is a plus.

Questions? Give our editor, Becky Bull, a call at 341-3353. She’ll do her best to help you out.

Getting Into the Advocate

As long as we’re talking about house keeping details, let me explain how to help us publish your stories, photos and other news information.

• Deadlines: Typically, we need information by the second Friday of the month prior to publication. The later we receive the information, the less likely it is to be published.
• Letters to the Editor: We can’t get enough letters concerning your opinion about neighborhood issues, so type up your comments and mail them to us at 6510 Abrams, Suite 220, Dallas 75231, or fax the information to 341-0204. Don’t forget to include your telephone number so we can verify information, and try to keep letters to about 100 words or less. Some extra incentive: Letter writers are eligible for a monthly drawing to receive free Advocate T-shirts.
• Editorial Columns: Each month, we like to run longer articles written by residents about neighborhood issues. It’s not necessary to comment on weighty issues such as the Robin Hood tax plan or John Wiley Price’s marches; one of our most well-read-reader-submitted articles concerned the author’s experience with the YMCA’s Indian Guides program. Again, mail or fax the typed story to us, include your telephone number, and don’t forget our deadlines.
• News Stories: Submit press releases or fact sheets to us about neighborhood events or personalities. It’s OK to brag about yourself or your family when you’ve done something outstanding. Don’t forget to include color or black-and-white photos (unfortunately, we can’t guarantee you’ll receive them back). And don’t forget to identify every person in the photograph – we rarely publish pictures of anonymous people.

Our publications is distributed free-of-charge to more than 40,000 homes and more than 2,000 businesses in our neighborhood; also, the papers are available in racks or near cash registers at more than 100 grocers, retailers and other neighborhood businesses.

Advertisers pay our bills and salaries, so the more ads we receive from neighborhood businesses, the more information we publish. It’s as simple as that.

So please do us a favor and let our advertisers know you saw their ad in the Advocate and that you like our product.

Why Are We Here?

During our 2 ½ years of publication, we’ve published stories about everything from how to save White Rock Lake to class valedictorians to sewing clubs to zoning issues to invention convention winners to neighborhood sports heroes.

Not long ago, we even published a photo of a neighborhood resident who caught a record-size bass in a nearby lake. I was subjected to a lot of ribbing from my journalism cohorts at bigger media outlets for publishing this picture – “What’s so special about a kid and a fish?” they asked. “You wouldn’t see us publishing something dopey like that.”

To be honest with you, I’m as proud of publishing that photo as I am of anything we’ve done here.

Why is a kid with a fish so important to me?

Because it was important to the neighborhood residents who sent us the photo. Grandparents are like that, you know.

And that’s what the Advocate is all about – publishing stories that matter to you. Because that’s what matters to us.

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