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Public Relations & the Media

Press Releases

Press Releases

The press release is the most basic and common way to contact the media. Releases should follow a standard format, including:

  1. The words “News Release” in large type at the very top of the release so that it is easily recognizable.
  2. On the left-hand side: “For Immediate Release” with the date one line below.
  3. On the right-hand side: contact information for person in charge of public relations, including telephone number and e-mail address.
  4. Headline: make it concise and attention-grabbing.
  5. Lead: include the most important information and information that will get a reporter’s attention. Also, include the important who, what, where, when, why, how and how much of the story.
  6. Body of release: include a luminous quote in one of the first three paragraphs.
  7. Closing paragraph: include your organization’s mission and whom they should contact for more information.

Press releases should be double-spaced with margins large enough for scribbling. Releases should be written in AP style and as a news story that would appear in a news publication. This includes not using the word “you.”

Most professions have a writing style, and for reporters, it is AP style. As such, contact with reporters should also be written in AP style. AP style is the style set by the Associated Press and their guide, the AP Style Guide, is often referred to as the journalist’s bible and is available at local bookstores.