VCU’s Capital News Service provides state government coverage to bona fide news organizations, such as newspapers and news websites. We cannot serve publications affiliated with political parties, lobby groups or other advocacy organizations.
CNS staff members provide news stories only. They may not write editorials, op-ed articles or other opinion pieces.
When a news organization signs up for CNS, we will assign a student as your primary correspondent. This student will contact you at least once a week to discuss possible assignments. CNS reporters are available to cover spot news, such as press conferences, committee meetings and floor action; to get your legislators’ reaction to developments at the Capitol; to do profiles of local residents involved in state government; and to write enterprise stories about issues that affect your readers.
All stories must undergo editing before distribution to ensure that they are publication-ready when you receive them. We push hard to distribute time-sensitive articles as quickly as possible during the weekly; stories with a longer shelf life generally are distributed over the weekend.
Each CNS story is distributed as a separate e-mail. The text is pasted into the body of the e-mail and the story also is included as a Microsoft Word attachment to the e-mail. If a story has a photo, this is noted in the text, along with instructions on how to preview and download it from our Flickr group. Photos are posted as high-resolution .jpg files.
There is no charge to subscribe to CNS. However, we ask clients to provide:
- A contact person who will be available to advise the CNS reporter. The more direction, the better: We want to pursue stories that you need and will publish.
- Fair consideration of our stories for publication. We know there are no guarantees and we expect to earn our way into your paper by producing solid journalism.
- Honest feedback. When stories fall short of your expectations, let CNS know so we can aim higher next time.
- A complimentary subscription to your newspaper during the legislative session. That way, CNS reporters can learn about your publication and your community and they can consistently clip CNS stories that you have published.
We also ask that when you publish a CNS stories, you give the CNS reporter a byline. (We realize that as editors, you have the prerogative to distill or re-edit stories for your readers and your publication’s style or format. If you fold information from a CNS story into another article, a credit line might be more appropriate.)
To sign up as a CNS client, contact Jeff South at 804-827-0253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.