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Chapter 5

Posted in Reading Notes by Maggie on June 12, 2010

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox

Chapter 5- Writing the News Release

This chapter of discusses the basics when it  comes to writing a news release. A news release is, or press release, is the backbone of most publicity plans. Shockingly, studies have shown that between 55-97% of all news releases intended for media use are never even used!   In order for a news release to be considered by media outlets, there are three criteria that must be met:

  1. A standard format must be used
  2. Information provided must interest the audience
  3. The material must be timely

News releases are important because they help organizations achieve objectives of many kinds.  Another reason why news releases are so prevalent is because they are so cost-effective. Also, in contrast to advertisements,  news releases seem much more credible.

There are several types of news releases:

  • Announcements- announce personal appointments, promotions, new products or services, reports of sales, contests, anniversaries, openings, etc.
  • Spot Announcements- used to announce some outside action or influence that effects an organization.
  • Reaction Releases- used when an event or situation has an impact on the organization
  • Bad News- used to confront issues that reflect badly on an organization.
  • Local News- used in weekly newspapers, and local writing to give “hometown” news to locals

There are seven elements to a traditional news release:

  1. Letterhead
  2. Contacts
  3. Headline
  4. Dateline
  5. Lead paragraph
  6. Body of text
  7. Summary of organization

Leads are most important because they attract and entice readers to a story.  When it comes to writing a news release, PR practitioners must remember to use factual information, be professional, and keep the story interesting.


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