Need to see a sample?
Sample news releases are available by following the Communicating with Policy Makers: A Toolkit Samples link on the website.
News releases
   News releases, sometimes refered to as press releases, are the cornerstone of any publicity program. Keep in mind that you are competing with hundreds of other releases for an editor's attention. Using the proper format is as important as content. Writing a news release takes practice. The first priority is to know why you are writing the release. Is the information important? Does the story have a local angle? Do you have all of the facts needed to present a clear picture of the story?
   If you can time your release to coincide with a national event that has generated a lot of media coverage, there is a better chance of getting local coverage. These national events may be good or bad, and include national news broadcasts and shows such as 60 Minutes, Primetime, Dateline,etc. Remember, you can use the opportunity of negative press to make lemonade out of lemons. News releases can also relate to proactive events such as Stand for Children Day or Child Abuse Prevention Month.
   News releases should be sent to broadcast and print media and should always be followed with a phone call. It is good to send a copy to both reporters and editors.
   Most good news releases consist of the following:
  • A headline
  • The organization name and a contact person's name and telephone number
  • An introductory paragraph that summarizes the news and...
  • A quote from a knowledgeable person
   The news release should be as brief as possible. If it extends to a second page, insert the word -more- (between hyphens)at the end of the first page to indicate continuation, and xxx to indicate the end.
   Reporters may use information from your press release to supplement stories they are already writing or may be inspired to write stories based on the content of the releases. Remember, they can't write anything if they don't get your release!


Writing the news release

Red Bullet Write releases so they read like a news story.
Red Bullet Write a headline that commands attention.
Red Bullet Answer the standard questions - who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Red Bullet Quote a spokesperson from your organization. Reporters may place these quotes directly into their stories.
Red Bullet Always provide a contact name and phone number.
Red Bullet If possible,send the release to a specific individual, either an editor or reporter.
Red Bullet Put the most important points first.
Red Bullet Edit your release for spelling and grammar. Have someone review your work for accuracy and clarity.
Red Bullet Fax your release to papers in your area as well as local television and radio stations.
Red Bullet Follow up on your release in two to four days. Ask the reporter if they need additional information.
Red Bullet Track the coverage for your files.

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