Posted by: katiecrawford | April 19, 2009

The News Release- Chapter 14

News ReleasesChapter 14 of Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics by Wilcox and Cameron discusses news releases, media alerts, and pitch letters. While I was reading this chapter I was suprised at some of the tips I was reading that dealt with news releases.

“The news release, also called a press release…is a simple document whose primary purpose is the dissemination of information to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines” (Wilcox and Cameron 367). The media relys greatly on news releases for reasons. There are several tips that should be followed when writing news releases. Below are some of the ones that surprised me:

  • Don’t use generic words such as “the leading provider or “world class” to position your company
  • Don’t highlight the name of your company or product in the headline of a news release if it is not highly recognized
  • Don’t use metaphors unless they are used to paint a clearer picture for the reader
  • Don’t expect editors to print your entire release

The content of a news release should be written like a story. I learned that the lead paragraph is the most important “because it forms the apex of the journalistic ‘inverted pyramid’ approach to writing” (Wilcox and Cameron 368). The inverted pyramid approach means summarizing the most important parts in the first paragraph and then fill in the rest of the details in the following paragraphs. The text continues to by giving other guidelines for the content of a news release:

  • Double-check all information. (Be certain every fact and title are correct)
  • Eliminate boldface and capital letters.
  • Include organizational background. (Short paragraph at end of release should give sketch of organization)
  • Localize whenever possible. (The local angle gets published more often)

The information I read today about news releases astonished me at how much detail and effort goes into this type of published information.

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