PUR 3000 Chapter 14

Flashcard maker : Lily Taylor
News Release
press release; goes back to when Ivy Lee wrote one for Pennsylvania Railroad in 1906
Two reasons media relies on news releases:
(1) reality of mass communications today is that reporters and editors spend most of their time processing info
Planning a news release ?’s
Key message?
primary audience?
what does target audience gain?
what objective does release serve?
best format for the info?
Basic online news release format
Single spacing
200 words or less
inverted pyramid approach; important info 1st
top line = name of organization and logo
second line = date
third line = headline
city of organization in lead paragraph
use a pull quote as part of the release
provide links
last paragraph should have basic info
end with name, number, email
B.L. Ochman
“think of the online news release as a teaser to get a reporter or editor to your website for additional info”
– use specific subject line
– 200 words or less
– short sentences in each paragraph
– bulleted points
– contact info
– never send as an attachment
Multimedia news release “smart media release”
make it possible to embed a news release with high resolution photos/graphics, video and audio components
– expanded the audience beyond the traditional media outlet
– includes social media tags, bookmarks, news channel distribution, audio headline summaries, etc.
– formatted so info is easy to scan – bullets and lists of ready made quotes
Search engine optimization
– process of carefully selecting key words for the news release that make the content easily retrievable
PRWeek reporter McGuire’s SMR social media tips:
– distribute release through a service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites such as Yahoo finance, AOL News, Netscape
– go link crazy – confusing
– use low res images
– use all tools all the time, focus on the message first
Publicity photos
more people ‘read’ photos than articles
– not published unless they appeal to media gatekeepers who choose the content
– QUALITY – sharp detail and strong contrast – never send photos as an attachment
– SUBJECT MATTER – variety of subects – large group; ‘grip and grin’
– COMPOSITION – uncluttered photo is best, (1) tight shots with minimum background (2) emphasis on detail (3) limit wasted space
– ACTION – good to show people doing something
– SCALE – ex someone holding an ipod next to a pile of CD’s showing effectiveness
– COLOR – almost all publicity photos are color
Media Kit
also known as a press kit – they are usually prepared for major events and new product launches and purpose is to give editors and reporters a variety of info making it easier to write about the topic
Traditional media kit contents
usually a 9×12 folder with the following:
(1) basic news release
(2) news feature about product
(3) fact sheet about product/organization
(4) photos
(5) bios on CEO’s/spokesperson
(6) brochure
(7) contact info/websites
distributed online, through flashdrives, email, etc.
– cost savings for the organization is a big factor and honoring the needs of various publications should always be considered
Mat releases
originally sent in mat form; today they are sent in a variety of ways including word documents, pdfs, and jpegs
– feature angle is used instead of a lead that gives a key message
– geared toward providing helpful consumer info and tips about a variety of subjects in an informative way with only a brief mention of the nonprofit or corporation
– more sophisticated: entire color page layout that a newspaper can select and publish with no cost
media alerts and fact sheets
– also referred to a media advisory may be sent with news releases or by themselves
– most common format is bulleted items
– may contain: one line headline, breif paragraph about the event, some of journalism’s five W’s and contact info
Two different fact sheets
(1) Product fact sheets – summary sheet about the characteristics of a new product that serves as a quick reference for journalists writing the story
(2) Corporate profile – one page summary in bullets giving basic info about organization or company – provides reporters with a crib sheet so they can verify certain facts
Pitching a story
– most pitches today are in the form of email, phone call, email, text, or tweet
– if you can capture attention they might read the news release
– ‘don’t pitch your product, pitch how your organization solves problems for customers’
Basic guidelines for pitching through email
– use sufficient subject line
– keep the message brief
– do not include attachments
– don’t send blast emails to a large number of journalists
– send tailored email pitches to specific reporters and editors, relevant to their publications
– remove redundant recipients
– give editors option of getting off your email list; this ensures list is targeted to those who are interested
– establish an email relationship
Examples of opening lines that generate media interest
“How many students does it take to change a lightbulb?”
“The man who will end ipod whiplash”
“Wearing Prada can be the devil to your spine”
Distributing media materials
(1) first class mail
(2) fax
(3) email
(4) electronic wire services
(5) online newsrooms
Electronic newsrooms
Two major newswires: business wire/ PRnewswire
– release automatically entered into database which can be accessed by reporters, editors, and general public
– provide a cost effective way to directly reach thousands of media across the nation and even the globe
online newsrooms
good online newsroom should have:
(1) current/archived news releases
(2) PR contacts
(3) photos
(4) product info
(5) opportunity for journalists to sign up for daily RSS feed
other tips for online newsrooms by PRWEEK
(1) keep the online newsroom content simple
(2) make high res photos and graphics available that can be used for publication
(3) link the pressroom to the company homepage
Preparing for a media interview
– need to say something to entertain and inform the audience
– PRP needs to gain an understanding of the interviewers purpose
Print interview
– may take about an hour
– result may be a published 400-600 word story
– magazine interviews usually explore story more in depth than in a newspaper
News Conferences
– referred to as press conference as well
– makes for quick dissemination of a persons comments and opinions to a number of reporters at the same time
– most are planned in advance but can sometimes be spontaneous
– celebs hold impromptu conferences to give info about a divorce, new contract
– public officials usally have scheduled conferences usually called a briefing
Planning a news conference
– PRPs need to distinguish if the info can just as effectively be distributed through a media kit or news release
– checklist for organizing a conference:
1. convenient location
2. set date and time
3. distribute a media advisory about conference
4. write a statement for spokesperson to give and make sure he rehearses it
5. anticipate questions
6. prepare a media kit
7. prepare visual materials
8. make arrangements for the room
9. arrive early to double check arrangements
Online news conference
Attendance is often better for bloggers; journalists can view and ask questions while at their desks
– more cost efficient and effective
Media tours
(1) a trip or junket – to inspect a company’s manufacturing facilities in several cities
(2) familiarization trip – offered to travel writers and editors by the tourism industry
(3) organizations executives travel to key cities to talk with selected editors
Press Parties
Host rises to make a pitch at end of party
guests given press info
PRPs want two possible outcomes when they send a release to the media
(1) the release will generate enough interest in the reader that he will follow up by writing a more in depth story about the subject, covering the event, etc
(2) the release will be used as is
Journalists’ criteria for news
– value and benefit to their audience
– uniqueness
– human interest
– conflict/ controversy
– visual appeal
*PRPs have to think like journalists, make info relevant, be great story tellers
News release format
A news release is written like a news story in “inverted pyramid” style, following basic journalistic
– headline
– summary lead
– quotes using readable attribution
– background grafs/ boiler plates/ nut grafs
* Feature-style writing can be employed for releases
with nominal hard news value (human interest).
PR copywriting
Social media content
Ad copy
Brochures, fliers, annual reports
Articles / op eds
Web site content
Media Interviews – uncontrolled contexts
The PRP’s roles:
-Securing & arranging the interview
-Preparing the interviewee to relay key messages; be telegenic, pleasant, and brief; and remember the needs/goals of the media outlet (i.e. provide information of value to its audience)
-Actually serving as interviewee (“spokesperson”)

PRPs starting out should look for training opportunities

During press conferences/ Media interviews
Keep your cool
Don’t say more than you know to be true
As much as possible, stick to prepared answers
Don’t appear unresponsive.

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