Writing the News Release

3 Oct

Chapter 5 Reading Notes COMM 4333

Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

Press Release – is the backbone of almost every publicity plan. 55%-97% of all news releases that are sent to media outlets are never used. There is competition between reporters and editors.

News Releases – cost effective, create awareness about ideas, situations, services and products.

Planning a News Release

  1. Ask basic questions
  2. Selection of Paper
  3. Spacing and Margins
  4. Use AP Style

Types of News Releases

  • Announcements – highest ranking person in organization to make these about a product or service.
  • Spot announcements – storm disrupts the services of a public utility, fire, floods. The store doe not give the news to the media, but the reporters will write their own stories.
  • Reaction releases – Ex. price of oil rose so high. Then these are written about an event that has high impact on the organization.
  • Bad News – confront the issue and write about what happened.
  • Local News – most common reason that news releases get used is the presence of a local angle which is the strongest news value.

Parts of a Traditional News Release

  1. Letterhead – name of organization, complete address, numbers, e-mail and websites.
  2. Contacts – writer of news release, or director of PR
  3. Headline – boldface, larger type which indication of what it is about.
  4. Dateline – All capital letters, start lead of paragraphs. City and date.
  5. Lead paragraph – most important part of release. 1-3 sentences of basic details but has to entice readers.
  6. Body of text – pg 132.

Writing  the E-mail News Release

  • do not double space the copy anymore
  • Instead of fewer than 400 words, e-mail is fewer than 200 words
  • Write 2-3 sentences in each paragraph (5 paragraphs total)
  • Contact info
  • Never send as an attachment

Preparing the Multimedia News Release

  • Include links to pages
  • Place terms in key positions i.e. headlines and first paragraphs
  • Distribute service through Yahoo!, AOL News and Netscape
  • Use high resolution images
  • Focus on message first then bells and whistles.
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