Level 2, Activity 4-2
News Releases –
Good news releases are typically one page long and written in what is called “AP” style. AP stands for the Associated Press. If you want to make sure your news release is taken seriously, you should try to comply with AP style. Your local library should have an AP stylebook on the shelf, or you can look up the basics of AP style online. Your news release should also specify photo and video opportunities – such as adorable adoptable puppies getting a bath, volunteers raising the rafters for a home, or the student winner of the “oddest trash prize” on creek clean-up day.
Before issuing your news release, have your helper look at your draft. If you are working with a nonprofit agency, club or organization, you should have them take a look at your draft. Many organizations like to coordinate coverage because news releases are sent out by many different people – they don’t want three great story ideas going to the newspaper the same week when they know the paper only has room for one – they will try to space out the story ideas over three weeks instead.
Who should you send your news release to? If you want a lot of media interest, you will need to create a media list. A media list should include the name of every newspaper, television station and radio station in your community. You should list their phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses. Most importantly – you should list the key contact at each station for your news release. This is often the assignment editor at a television station, the news director at a radio station, or a metro desk editor at a newspaper. The phone book and online directories can help you create a good list. If you call a media outlet to find out contact information, ask how they prefer to receive news releases.