Erika Brewington’s Blog

Reading Notes: Chapter 14

Notes from Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron

Media Releases, Media Alerts, and Pitch Letters

  • News release/press release is the most commonly used PR tactic; it is a document with information to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines
  • Reasons media rely on news releases:
  1. reporters and editors spend most of their time processing information, not gathering it
  2. staff is not big enough to cover every single event in a community
  • Planning  a news release:
  1. what is the key message?
  2. who is the primary audience
  3. what does the target audience gain from the product or service?
  4. what objectives does the release serve?
  • A news release follows the journalistic approach to writing called the “inverted pyramid” where the first paragraph beings by summarizing the most important part of the story followed by the details.
  • 3 reasons why the inverted pyramid is used:
  1. editors will cut a story if they don’t find it interesting within the first 3 or 4 lines
  2. editors cut stories from the bottom
  3. readers don’t always read the full story
  • Electronic news releases/e-releases can be e-mailed to journalists, posted on an organization’s Web page or news room, and distributed by electronic news services
  • Factors to consider when selecting photos for media use:
  1. quality
  2. subject matter
  3. composition
  4. action
  5. scale
  6. camera angle
  7. lighting
  8. color
  • Mat feature releases are sent in mat form ready for the printing press; a feature angle is used instead of a lead that gives a key message
  • The most common format of media alerts/advisories is short, bulleted items rather than long paragraphs
  • Media kits are usually prepared for major events and new product launches; gives editors and reporters a variety of information and resources
  • Basic elements of a media kit include:
  1. main news release
  2. news feature about the development of the product or something similar
  3. fact sheets
  4. background information
  5. photos and drawings
  6. biographical material
  7. basic brochures
  • Pitch letters are short letters written to the editor in order to grab their attention; this is also referred to as making a pitch
  • News releases, photos, and media advisories are distributed in 5 major methods:
  1. mail
  2. fax
  3. e-mail
  4. electronic news services
  5. on-line newsrooms

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