A news release is a short article, usually written in the style of a standard hard-news story, that is sent to media with the aim of encouraging favourable coverage of the people, company or organization that issued the statement.
News releases are also commonly referred to as press releases and media releases.The common news release is the foundation of the public relations business. After all, public relations people and the folks who pay good money to employ them by the thousands recognize that when it comes to selling a product, or a point of view, no publicity is worth more than legitimate news coverage.
News releases are often valued more than full-page ads, billboards or paid TV spots. In this regard, all news releases are an effort to influence the media to see a story a particular way. Literally thousands of news releases are sent to media organizations every day, 365 days a year. They come from corporations, governments, sports teams, churches, political parties, musical groups, clubs, societies and a host of other groups. Nevertheless, news releases are a major source of news for media.
This is partly because news organizations are used to receiving story ideas this way. They expect to get information in the form of news releases from governments and corporations, and they're set up to deal with them. If you fax or email a news release to a major newspaper or broadcast station, you can be reasonably certain that someone will look at it, even if they don't decide to use it in the end.
The writers of news releases sometimes also play on the well-known herd instinct of the media .
The purpose of a news release is different from that of a news story, the same writing principles apply. So you need to write something that sounds like a standard inverted-pyramid news story, with a strong summary lead that sums up the main point of the story.
So write in plain English.
Keep it short.
Answer all the questions a reader would ask - and those, of course, include: Who? What? When? Where? Why? And How?
Explain all technical terms you must use - and avoid them if possible.
When you write a news release, be conscious of the relevant time elements.
Always put a date at the top of the release.
- Always write a one-line headline. A simple summary is best, and specific information is preferable to more general statements.
Always give contact names or numbers somewhere on the release.
Always include the address of the company or organization issuing the news release.
Always indicate the end of the release. Traditional ways to indicate the end of a news story include the numeral 30 . You may give some thought to including extras with your news release. Some, such as photos, are worth considering.
Photos are usually welcomed by editors. But anticipate the needs of the publications that will use the pictures. Don't provide busy pictures, artsy photos or overly dark shots. If you provide a photo, always include a caption, also known in the business as cutlines.
However, you should resist the urge to distribute free samples and other materials. This is generally frowned upon as slightly distasteful, bordering on bribery. A rare exception might be when a sample of the product was required to write the story. As a general rule, though, substitute solid information for freebies.
Send your release to assignment editors, city editors, and appropriate beat reporters.
- A news release is a short article written in the style of a standard hard-news story that is sent to media.
- The aim of a news release is to encourage favourable coverage of the people, company or organization that issued the statement.
- News releases are an effective way to influence media perception of an event or organization, and to encourage coverage.