CPJ's Advocacy Toolkit / Table of Contents
A press release provides information to various sectors of the media concerning a newsworthy topic or event. It is a great way to get information to the public. It should be short and should catch the attention of the news editor. You can send it by email, mail, or fax.
Writing a Press Release
- HEADLINE: Begin with an eye-catching headline. Keep it short and to the point. You can include a subhead too, which expands on your headline in a few more words.
- WRITING STYLE: Write in an “inverted pyramid” style. Place the most important points—“who, where, what, when, why and how”—at the beginning, followed by the details.
- GRAMMAR: Write in the present tense and use action verbs.
- QUOTES: Sprinkle relevant quotations throughout
- TIMING: Try to time the release when the issue or event will be a top story for the media, or try to tie your issue into one of the big stories of the day.
- DATE AND CITY: This lets the editor know your issue is relevant and current.
- FOLLOW-UP: Call the day after you send the press release to ask if the journalist would like to interview you. Don’t push this, as the media receive a large number of press releases, but make it clear that you are available to them.
|Keep in Mind: Formatting a Press Release.|
Sending a Press Release
Most newspapers have an email address for receiving press releases on their contact page. Send your press release in the text of an email (not as an attachment) to all relevant newspapers. This will ensure you have the broadest reach possible and that you do not favour any one newspaper.