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Writing news releases

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  1. 1. P R Why use a news release?  Ensures maximum coverage of news.  Efficient/cost effective. Although it may be interpreted differently by different journalists, it “standardizes” the message. Credibility of earned media! In today’s resource-thin media environment, a good news release has a better chance of being used than ever before.   
  2. 2. P R What Do You Put in a News Release?  A press release should contain the basic elements necessary to write a first story on a topic or event. (In other words, reporters might call you for more info—but if they have a good press release in hand, they shouldn’t have to in order to write the story) – – – – The 5W’s and the H Quotes from significant participants Boilerplate Remember the “diagonal paper principle”
  3. 3. P R Nut Graph Differences News article: A Provo man will receive the Goodyear Medal at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis June 6. Francis Langly, 24, News release: Francis Langly, former director of research at Zysxx, Inc., will receive the prestigious Goodyear Medal at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis on June 6.
  4. 4. P R A Few More Tips to Keep in Mind…     Form of a PR news release (AP style and format) is very similar to that of the news stories you’ve written A page or a page and change is plenty long enough (maximum: 2 pgs) Use a “boilerplate” (see readings, page 183) AP Style (style guide linked with Webster’s)
  5. 5. P R How is a PR news release different from a news story?   The PR writer creates compelling quotes that support your message and convey the thoughts and emotions you would expect this company have at a time like this. (In PR writing, you adopt a persona)  PR news releases consider the thoughts, feelings, needs and reactions of the readers.
  6. 6. P R How is a PR news release different from a news story?  A PR news release does not need to focus equally on both sides or contain quotes from critics. It is honest but supports the company.  A good-news or product press release promotes the product at hand and explains why it is significant. Journalistic news stories seek to  articulate the news—PR press releases seek to  articulate the newsworthiness.
  7. 7. P R Elements of a News Release          Use Chapter 9 as you complete the news release assignment! Identity of organization Contact and optional subhead Date and location where release originated ((use AP style) Headline and optional subhead Lead (straight inverted pyramid, (espec. bad news) Supporting information Quotes (as appropriate) Boilerplate (description of company)
  8. 8. P R Tips for Writing a News Release        Ask: Why would anyone read about this? Inform the public and serve your organization Use AP style and news writing format Make it complete Keep it to one page Use tip sheets Use a weekly or monthly calendar Source: Melinda Colton, Jordan School District
  9. 9. P R Elements of a News Release        Logo Release time: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE or EMBARGO time (use “EMBARGO” sparingly) Contact info Headline Dateline Text (the “lead paragraph” principle) # # # at end
  10. 10. P R Poor example of release Slippery Slope University Athletic Dept. Adds Women’s Soccer to Program (For Release on Tuesday, October 16, 2007) Slippery Slope University Athletic Director, Ben Morrow, announced today that women's soccer would be added to the Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic program. The program would have a schedule and begin play in September of 2008. “We are mandated by Title IX to add another women’s sport, working towards an equality of scholarships offered by our department,” Morrow said. “We chose women’s soccer for a couple of reasons. One, it provides more scholarships and playing opportunities than other sports. Secondly, most of the schools in the Midwest League already have program in place making it easier for scheduling competitions. Third, our women’s club team here at Slippery Slope University has been very successful and hopefully we can continue that at the NCAA level.” Another factor Morrow pointed out, was the high school girls soccer
  11. 11. P R SLIPPERY SLOPE UNIVERSITY NEWS M EDIA RELA TIONS – 4000 COLLEGE AVENUE—HOM ETOWN, US – 207-222-2600—EM AIL: P R@S LIPSLOPE.EDU CONTACT: Cynthia Dexter 207-222-2600 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Oct. 16, 2007 Slippery Slope athletics to add women’s soccer HOMETOWN – In an effort to continue its winning tradition at the NCAA level, Slippery Slope University officials announced Wednesday the school will add women’s soccer to its intercollegiate athletic program beginning September 2008. “Our women’s soccer club has been very successful and we hope to continue that that at the NCAA level. Women’s soccer will provide more scholarships for women athletes and provide more playing opportunities,” said SSU Athletic Director Ben Morrow. “In addition, a large majority of the schools in the Midwest League and those in our state already have women’s soccer in place, thus making it easier to schedule competitions.” The first year’s schedule will include matches with at least six Midwest League teams. The college will conduct a search for a coach, taking applications until Jan. 1, 2008 Local high schools have offered women’s soccer for the past ten years and that will allow SSU to draw on that for recruiting purposes. “This has spawned a great deal of interest in the sport locally and regionally and will create an instant recruiting poll for local talent,” Morrow said. Slippery Slope, which has 10,900 students and 600 faculty members, is accredited by the Midwest Council on Accreditation and offers 100 different baccalaureate degrees. # # # (Adapted from information provided from Melinda Colton)