Selecting an Editor and Establishing an Editorial Calendar

If your PTA has a newsletter, your committee will need to appoint an editor who will be responsible for deciding on and acquiring the content for each issue. Ideally, the editor will have some experience producing publications, a flair for language and an understanding of the needs of the audience. The editor should be responsible for keeping up-to-date on education and school-specific issues and finding out from readers what interests them.

Although the content of a newsletter varies with the interests and purposes of individual PTAs, there are some core principles to keep in mind when planning what to include. The main interests of the audience are: the school the PTA represents, the children who attend the school, issues that may affect the school community, and the PTA’s activities and accomplishments. You can also subscribe to National PTA's e-newsletters for content ideas by clicking here.

One aid in creating a newsletter is establishing an editorial calendar. This calendar provides a general outline of the topics each newsletter will contain, as well as regular features that will appear in every newsletter. Editorial calendars take into account seasonal events, for example, an annual book sale, conference or PTA program (e.g., Take Your Family to School Week always occurs in February).

A partial editorial calendar might look something like this:

In every issue:

  • PTA president’s message
  • School calendar
  • PTA calendar
  • School contact information
  • PTA contact information
  • PTA membership form

September issue – Back to School:

  • Requirements for entry to school
  • PTA volunteer sign-up opportunities and mail-in form
  • Back-to-school PTA and school events

October issue – Fall Fun:

  • Pictures from the first week of school
  • Halloween pageant
  • Annual PTA family nature walk

November issue – Holiday Happenings:

  • Pictures from family nature walk and/or Halloween pageant
  • Thanksgiving food drive information
  • School holiday pageant auditions announcement

In addition to establishing an editorial calendar, it is important to create a schedule for your newsletter and stick to it. When deciding when and how often to produce a newsletter, it helps to ask your audience for their preferences - monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, etc. You will also need to consider the amount of time available to create and post your newsletter when deciding its frequency.