National Night Out 2021-08.jpg

Branson police officers met with residents of Branson Park Apartments during the 2021 National Night Out, an event which had the PD send us all the necessary information over a month in advance.

“Why didn’t you print anything about this?”

“I would have gone to that event, but I didn’t know about it.”

“We were so disappointed by the turnout at our fundraiser.”

We rarely go more than a few days without hearing one of the above phrases or something similar from a reader or community member. It usually comes from a place of disappointment for a missed opportunity to attend an event you think you might enjoy, or from an organizer whose dreams of a packed event were met with less people than the average softball team.

I get it. I’ve been part of organizing concerts and events where you open the doors and the only one waiting to get in is a grumpy cat, who wandered over from next door and doesn’t understand why you don’t have a bowl full of food waiting for them. 

Many times the problem is you didn’t get the word out about your event in an effective manner. These days, even with events which have been around for many years, there’s so many things competing for your attention you can get lost in the noise unless you make a concerted effort toward awareness.

The staff of Branson Tri-Lakes News loves to help promote community events, especially charitable events, and make people aware of fun, interesting, or informative events which makes the area better every week. Whether it’s a full size story, or a listing on Page 5’s Calendar of Events, we try to make sure you have a cornucopia of events from which to choose each week.

However, we freely admit…we miss some events.

Believe it or not, news reporters are not omnipotent. We don’t just instantly know every single thing happening in a community. (I know, shocking.) I’m being a little facetious here, but I’m doing it to make an actual serious point. While we work hard to find out about events in the area, there’s no guarantee we will find out about your event or the event you’re interested in. 

This means if you’re putting on an event, or you’re part of a local event, you need to make sure you notify us about what’s going on well in advance of the actual event. Calling us on a Monday and saying “Hey, we’re doing this on Friday, can you promote it” won’t get it done. First off, if you call on Monday there’s a better-than-average chance most of the feature stories for the Wednesday edition are already in the process of being edited. 

The best way to get your event in our pages is to make sure you reach out at least four weeks before the event and provide us with complete information. As an example, I know you know where your church is located, and your friends likely know where the church is located, but it doesn’t mean we know your church’s street address or phone number. 

Make sure you also include what is happening at the event.

Let’s say two different groups are putting on a superhero day for area kids. 

The first one sends us an email which says: “Adrianna’s Makeup Counter in Branson West is hosting a superhero event on October 10 from 5 to 7. Can you please put it in the paper?” 

The second sends us an email which reads: “Judith’s House of Honey is hosting a special Superhero Adventure Night for area kids between the ages of 1 and 14 on October 10. We’ll have Spiderman, Batman, Black Widow, Deadpool, Shazam, Captain America AND Captain Marvel, and more! We’ll have bounce houses, games, a cake walk, bingo, a pie eating contest, pin-the-tail-on-a-real-donkey, a politician dunk tank, food trucks, bake sale, and a special appearance from Branson entertainer Matthew Boyce as Elvis! Admission is free, but bring money for the food trucks and bake sale! We’re located at 2112 Deepruts Road, Merriam Woods, and our phone number is 417-555-5555. If you need more information, call and ask for Jessica.”

Which one do you think we and our readers will notice first? Which one looks like it’s more thought out, and therefore more likely to be a good event for us to share with area families?

Now, I’m not saying we wouldn’t put the first event in the calendar of events if we can find out more details, but the second one might even get a reporter to come out and take some photos. 

We only have four reporters, and honestly Tim focuses mostly on the entertainment side of things and his position as Managing Editor since both can be a full-time circus, so there’s essentially three of us left to cover all of Stone and Taney counties. We can’t work 24/7, so unfortunately we have to pick and choose which events get coverage. Community events have to compete for our time with meetings of local city governments, chambers of commerce, car accidents, fires, school events, and court related situations. You want to make sure your event rises to the top of the stack and making sure there’s complete information provided to us in advance is a big step in the right direction.

Now, another little secret most media outlets won’t share with you: some venues and businesses don’t want to share their events in advance. For example, there could be a car club which hosts car shows, but they don’t really want the general public to show up. They’ll pass up sending their information to us, and therefore we won’t cover it; but some people hear about it and ask why we didn’t promote it.

We don’t have anything against classic cars. I mean, our printing press has a Hemi. But if we don’t know it’s going on, we can’t share it, and it’s not any kind of intentional slight toward anyone. 

Finally, some venues which host concerts or conventions just rent out their facilities and have nothing to do with the events happening in their space. They aren’t the promoters, so they don’t send out information to local media about things going on because it’s not their event. So if, for example, you hear a week late about a My Little Pony convention which took place at Chateau on the Lake and wonder why you didn’t see it in the paper, there’s a good chance the event was hosted by a third party and they just rented space at the Chateau. If the third party doesn’t contact us, we’ll have no way to know it’s going on.

So please, especially as we head into the Ozark Mountain Christmas season, if you have an event scheduled, make sure you let us know about it well in advance. Make sure you include accurate contact information, as much information about the event as you can, and if you have a Facebook page set up for the event, share it with us as well.

We want to help you avoid the “Oh man, if I’d only known this was happening” AND the “Why hasn’t anyone shown up?” moment. 

(1) comment

Michael Dollars

Jason....excellent article! Very clear information and great examples. I get it...but there are many folks who just do not consider things like you wrote about....hopefully your article will help with that!

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