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COM 300 - Writing in Communication (3 CREDITS) Spring 2016 Office Hours: By appointment Email: rkrichardson@wsu.edu MATERIALS & ...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Introduction to News Releases

Are you familiar with the news release format? PR practitioners typically issue a news release to journalists and other audiences when they have an announcement or significant news development for their client.

A good press release requires that you quickly and clearly communicate the news value of your company's announcement to the media outlets that you target.

Something to always consider: How will a journalist judge your release if they are very busy? Imagine that the recipient has dozens of press releases a day. How will your press release stand to be perceived as valuable by the journalist to the news beat that they cover?


If your announcement is "hard news," then the traditional news lede approach may be appropriate. This means that the key W's should be present in the first sentence or two of your press release: who, what, when, where and (sometimes) why. Sound familiar? You might recall this approach from your journalism classes.

Some examples:


What if your news announcement is lightweight and/or fun? "Soft news" announcements that target columnists, magazines or feature-oriented publications may be better communicated through a more feature-style approach to your writing. This means that you can include playful, creative and/or descriptive details for your lede. You'll still need to convey important "news" near the lede -- but the first two sentences might not necessarily contain all the basic details. BE CAREFUL with this approach as you do run the risk of the release being perceived as frivolous by many journalists.

Some examples:


In determining what style of lede to choose, consider the content and context. What type of info are you trying to communicate? What is the context in which it will be received? Which approach will be more likely to be successful considering the style of media outlet you are targeting? What is the NEWS VALUE (if any) of the announcement?