Erika Brewington’s Blog

Dissecting a PR Press Release

This week in my public relations class, we are working on writing in public relations. Specifically, Professor Nixon chose to  focus on press releases in a lecture that she titled A Baker’s Dozen:: The Anatomy of a News Release. We were given a news release that we thoroughly dissected, discussing the importance of each part. Although I have seen news releases before and could recognize specific things that must be included, there were many parts that I did not realize were so important, or even served a purpose for that matter. This lecture was presented in a fun way, and was very helpful and interesting as well! Here are the basics of what we discussed..

As the title hints, there are 13 important features that news releases will include:

  1. The Letterhead and Address– although the organization’s full name and address is part of the basic format, it is very important for contact information.
  2. The Word “News Release”– this automatically tells the editor, journalist, or reporter what it is and by stating it clearly, they will know exactly what to do from there.
  3. For Immediate Release or Embargo– this will tell the editor, journalist, or reporter whether the information can be released to the public immediately, or if they have to wait until a specific date..if it is not included or forgotten, it is automatically assumed as immediate release!
  4. Media Contact Information– this is contact information disclosed to the media outlet that allows them to contact the PR practitioner for any reason regarding the release.
  5. Headline and Sub-headline-boldly states the topic of the release and what the information is regarding
  6. Dateline-states when and where the news release is from in order to see how recent it is.
  7. Lead-the first paragraph in the release that pulls the editor, journalist, or reporter in right away with the most important information.
  8. Quotations-gives the release credibility by using statements from prominent figures.
  9. Body– the remaining segment of the story that gives additional information about the event.
  10. Page Slugs-words at the end of a page that indicate there is an additional page with more information.
  11. Additional Contact Information– gives the editor, journalist, or reporter additional information of contacts that can be reached regarding the information.
  12. Boilerplate-indicates that the information has to be printed as written.
  13. End Sign-used to signal the end of the press release.

Additionally, Professor Nixon also discussed with the class the importance of using the Bcc line when sending news releases via e-mail to more than one reporter. This will increase the chance of coverage for the organization and also keep the distribution private.


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