Writing the News Release

Planning a news release involves asking the following questions:

  • What is the subject of the message?
  • Who is the message designed to reach?
  • What is in it for the this particular audience? awards? benefits?
  • What goal is the organization pursuing? purpose?
  • What do you want to achieve with the news release?
  • What key messages should this news release highlight.

Which first: good news or bad news?

Good News!-Organizations suppress news that will make them look bad.  This could be done by burying the bad news in the story. For example starting with the good facts and not getting to the bad facts until the end of the release.

Parts of a Traditional News Release:

  1. Letterhead-first page of a news release. Gives the name of the organization, address, telephone number, fax numbers, websites etc.
  2. Contacts-often the writer of the news release but can also be the organization’s director of PR
  3. headline-Brief and boldface-gives editor or journalist a quick indication of what the new’s release is about
  4. dateline-All caps…appears at the start of the lead paragraph. ATLANTA
  5. lead paragraph-In one to three sentences you must give the reader the basic details of the story
  6. body of text-inverted pyramid–most important facts to least important facts

The Do’s and Dont’s….

Do-Include links to pages, place terms in key positions, distribute releases through downstream sites such as Yahoo or Netscape

Don’t-give too many links, use poor images with low resolution, lose focus on the message

All information obtained from the book Public Relations writing and Media Techniques Sixth edition

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