A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Press Releases

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A news release, media release, press release or press statement is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value. Typically, it is mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, and/or television networks. Commercial press-release distribution services are also used to distribute news releases. A press release is different from a news article. A news article is a compilation of facts developed by journalists published in the news media, whereas a press release is designed to be sent to journalists in order to encourage them to develop articles on the subject. A press release is generally biased towards the objectives of the author.



A Comprehensive Guide to Preparing Releases that Get Results

Most experienced editors have a love-hate relationship with press releases. They rely on releases (and the people who write them) for story ideas, facts and valuable sources. A good news release can be a lifesaver when it arrives just in the nick of time with an interesting story idea, an arresting headline, compelling lead, powerful quotes, maybe even a print-ready photo.

Freedman, David M. Communication World Bulletin (2003). Articles>Business Communication>Public Relations>Press Releases


Coverage of Team Science by Public Information Officers: Content Analysis of Press Releases about the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Centers   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This study examines the content of press releases from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Technology Centers (STCs) to determine how public information officers (PIOs) presented the outcomes of centers to journalists and the public. A total of 68 press releases were analyzed for type of news covered, visibility of centers and their funding agency, extent of inter-institutional cooperation in the issuance of releases, and players covered. Three-quarters of STC releases mentioned the center, but less than half mentioned the NSF STC program and one-quarter didn't mention the center name at all. PIOs covering the STCs mainly issued research-oriented press releases accredited to their own institution. There was a low level of inter-institutional cooperation, with 13% of press releases jointly issued. Compared to research results and institutional news, which together accounted for 82% of the news events, broader activities such as knowledge transfer, diversity enhancement, and education were much less visible.

Graube, Marita, Fiona Clark and Deborah L. Illman. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2010). Articles>Scientific Communication>Journalism>Press Releases


Designing Effective Online Press Rooms

Corporate resources available to journalists today are increasingly Web-based. Though most corporations still have human press contacts, journalists are relying more and more on corporations' 'online press rooms' for background information, quotes, photos, and other information. That same information is just as easily accessible to investors and consumers as well. With journalists' increasing reliance on online press rooms, however, come usability issues. Unless sites are kept current, press releases and other information easy to find, and contact names and numbers easily accessible, journalists are apt to simply give up seeking information on a corporation's site and look elsewhere. The following discussion will note the most common problems with online press rooms and will review relevant literature and the problems and suggestions it presents. It will also attempt to offer some prioritized guidelines of its own-involving, among other things, the use of more advanced technology.

Tevenan, Matthew P. EServer (2001). Design>Web Design>Public Relations>Press Releases


Enhancing Our Image: Creating Good Public Relations   (PDF)

Effective chapter public relations results in an increase in membership, more interested and active members, and an awareness of technical communication as a valid and an important profession. This workshop teaches general public relation skills, such as how to write effective press releases, how to get your chapter events treated as news, and how to create and then maintain a press list.

Braz, Lisa M., Susan L. Fowler, Alan Korwin, and Nancy Martin. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>TC>Marketing>Press Releases


How To Write A Press Release For Your Services

If you have an interesting story to tell, a press release will help you to make newspaper editors aware of it. Maybe you recently won an award. Maybe you stumbled upon some interesting information in the field you work in. Or maybe your design contributed towards some kind of achievement on behalf of your client. Depending on the scale and content of your story, you can send your press release to marketing websites, marketing magazines, the relevant trade press, the regional press, and even the business section of the national press.

Crowley, Shaun. FreelanceSwitch (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Public Relations>Press Releases


Next-Generation Press Releases

The age-old public relations tool, once crafted as fodder for print journalists, is now being applied more to the online world. A recent study by the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) found that most releases now target consumers and customers directly, rather than through the filter of the news media. Enter the social media release (SMR).

Holtz, Shel. Communication World Bulletin (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Social Networking>Press Releases


Press Releases Are a Colossal Waste of Time: Mail the Media a Letter Instead

I haven't sent out a traditional press release in the last 10 years. But I have placed stories about my clients in The Wall St. Journal, New York Times, ABC News, The Today Show, Good Morning America and just about any other major media outlet in the United States. Editors surely don't need me or any other publicist to write their stories. They need me to point them in the direction of a good story, succinctly give them the facts as I see them, the sources I know and then get out of the way so they can write their own stories. I do those things by writing pitch letters, good ones.

Ochman, B.L. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Public Relations>Press Releases


Public Relations on Websites: Press Area Usability

As three studies of journalists show, they use the Web as a major research tool, exhibit high search dominance, and are impatient with bloated sites that don't serve their needs or list a PR contact.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2009). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Press Releases


The Technical Communicator as Corporate Spokesperson: A Public Relations Primer   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

A survey of CEOs, corporate spokespersons, and media representatives suggests that the evolving roles and responsibilities of corporate spokes-persons may result in greater opportunities for technical communicators in corporate public relations. However, these opportunities require communication principles and skills that have not traditionally played a strong role in technical communication education. This essay discusses these requisite considerations so they can be more explicitly addressed in the contemporary technical communication curriculum.

Troester, Rod and Terrence L. Warburton. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2001). Careers>TC>Public Relations>Press Releases


Top Five Tips For a Great Press Release

A news publication gets a lot of press releases over the course of the day. In an ideal world, this document delivers valuable and maybe even actionable news and, if things are really well done, gets journalists excited about sharing it with the world. What's beautiful about this is that it is a realm over which you have some control, and improvements are easy to achieve.

Natividad, Angela. CMSwire (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Public Relations>Press Releases


Why Craft Better News Releases? Because the Payoff Can Be Really Big

Written any good news releases lately? Though many of us in business communication churn them out regularly, we often don't take as much care crafting them as we do with other vehicles like articles or brochures.

Canavor, Natalie and Claire Meirowitz. Communication World Bulletin (2005). Articles>Business Communication>Public Relations>Press Releases


Writing Press Releases

A press release is a (candidate) news story written by a firm for distribution to the media. The purpose of a press release varies from announcing new products, services, and business activities, to introducing the hiring of a new employee. It is not advertising in the classic sense, i.e., there is no hard sell involved although there is a more subtle intent to reach the prospective buyers.

Tech-Writer. Articles>Business Communication>Writing>Press Releases


Writing Technical Press Releases   (PDF)

Explains how technical communicators with no public relations experience can take charge of their companies' media plans and press releases.

Greiling, Dunrie A. Intercom (2001). Articles>Business Communication>Writing>Press Releases

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