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An editor’s plea: Please use CitySpark for your calendar listing


Features Editor
Published: 5/3/2019 11:30:01 PM

You see it all around you. Day-to-day responsibilities that might ordinarily be done by hand are being turned over to technology.

While you may have your Roomba to take care of the vacuuming, we at the Greenfield Recorder have CitySpark, an event listing service that helps cut down on the need for an editor to compile listings by hand.

For a little over a year now, that editor has been me. When I come into work each Monday, I download a document from CitySpark with hundreds of calendar listings, and spend hours editing them for clarity while trying to make them as concise as possible.

Then, once the listings are edited, I turn to my email. For any given week, I’ll have between 25 and 55 emails with information that residents would like added to the calendar manually. I turn my attention to typing them into the document by hand.

On top of that, there’s often fliers that get mailed into the newspaper or that are dropped off at our 14 Hope St. office, which are intended to be included in the calendar. Those listings are also typed in by hand. It’s a tedious job. But somebody’s got to do it. I’m aware of how many people rely on the weekly arts and culture calendar to publicize their events, and, on the flip side, how many people look to it to plan their days.

But compiling listings by hand takes its toll. Furthermore, when a second person needs to be responsible for typing up a listing, there’s more opportunity for human error.

That’s why I’m taking the time to write this column, with a request: Please learn to use CitySpark.

We live in a time where newspapers across the country face dwindling resources, and where fewer and fewer staff are often asked to take on more and more responsibilities. By peeling back some of the calendar listing responsibilities, the features editor would have more time to focus on editing stories and arranging for content that’s valuable to readers.

Furthermore, it’s a way to maximize efficiencies with our sister papers — the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Amherst Bulletin and the Valley Advocate — who are also all using CitySpark, and are currently duplicating calendar-making efforts.

It’s clear to us that there’s room for improvement in the way we do things. But improving efficiencies only works with your cooperation.

By using CitySpark, you can send a listing to all of our publications simultaneously, rather than needing to send a mass email. You can also set recurring events, such as weekly karaoke nights, to keep popping up in the calendar.

Here’s a brief how-to for submitting CitySpark listings, which we hope you will take advantage of:

1.Visit ​​​​​​!/ You can also access this page by going to our website, selecting the “Arts” category at the top of the page, and then selecting “Calendar.”

2. Once there, you’ll see the online calendar, where all CitySpark listings are advertised. Press the small green “+Add Event” button at the top of the listings. (Should you choose, you can pay to get your event promoted in the banner at the top of the page, but the basic CitySpark listings are free of charge.)

3. CitySpark will walk you through creating a listing with a name, date, time, address and contact information, as well as a basic description for print and a longer description for the web. (You will need to make an account if you don’t already have one.)

4. You will have the option, near the end of your listing, to select which newspapers you’d like to send it to. Please select all of them so that our listings are as uniform as possible (and so your listing gets the most traction).

You should receive an email confirming your listing, through which you can later edit or cancel your listing if need be. Your listing will be posted on the online calendar immediately, and in the print Arts & Culture calendar on Thursday. You will need to submit your CitySpark listing by the Monday before the Thursday on which you expect your listing to be published. For example, if your listing was for any date between Thursday, May 2, and Wednesday, May 8, this week, I would have needed to receive your listing through CitySpark before Monday, April 29.

Here are some formatting tips for your listings that are pet peeves for editors, and that will be edited out if you include them:

■All caps should only be used if that’s part of a proper noun, such as a band name. Do not use all caps for emphasis alone.

■Do not repeat sentences. Try to include as little overlap between the name of your listing and the description as possible. You want your description to complement the title, not repeat it.

■Do not use any exclamation points.

■Do not use stars (*) to signify what you feel is most important, or to highlight book names. Book names should be in quotation marks.

With your cooperation, CitySpark can help streamline the way we make calendars. Still, we’re always here to offer assistance. Call 413-772-0261, ext. 276 with questions.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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