Presentation on theme: "Writing and Using Press Releases Barbara Gastel, MD, MPH Texas A&M University Health Reporting Workshop for Health Professionals and Journalists Accra,"— Presentation transcript:
Writing and Using Press Releases Barbara Gastel, MD, MPH Texas A&M University Health Reporting Workshop for Health Professionals and Journalists Accra, Ghana, November 2011
Definition Advantages An example Tips for – Preparing – Disseminating – Using Discussion: putting it into practice Overview: Writing and Using Press Releases
Press Releases Also called news releases Newspaper-style stories disseminated to journalists (and sometimes others) by groups with news or other information they want to convey to broader audiences Sometimes published as is (especially by smaller media) Often starting points for stories in the media
Advantages of News Releases for Those Issuing Them Can efficiently disseminate information simultaneously to many members of the media Can help ensure that coverage is accurate Can increase the likelihood that desired aspects of the subject are emphasized
Advantages of News Releases for Those Receiving Them Make it easy to be aware of potentially newsworthy items Can be an efficient source of reliable information on topics Note: News releases are sometimes termed information subsidies.
An Example Old drugs find new target for treating brain tumor, released by University of California, San Diego, 18 November 2011 Identified through EurekAlert! (http://www.eurekalert.org/ )a good source of examples of news releaseshttp://www.eurekalert.org/
Advice: Writing a News Release Have the release resemble a newspaper story. Keep the release relatively short. Include an informative headline. Provide a release date. List one or more contact people. Present the main point immediately; then provide details. (Use inverted pyramid format.)
Writing a News Release (continued) If you are trying to promote your institution, mention it early (and perhaps repeatedly) in the article. Remember to include the 5 Ws and an H. Include some quotes. Ideally, place at least one of them early in the release. Write the release in simple, readable language. Do not exaggerate.
Writing a News Release (cont) Consider providing (or offering access to) – Photos – Other graphics – Video clips – Audio clips
Disseminating a News Release Issue a news release only if the subject seems truly newsworthy. Try to schedule the release for a time when little else is happening in the news. Make the news release available through reporters preferred channels (for example, by and online). (more)
Disseminating Releases (cont) Consider posting the news release on both your website and one or more central sites used by reporters. Perhaps alert reporters who seem especially likely to be interested. Make sure that the contact person(s) and others whom reporters might well want to contact are available. Monitor use of the release.
Using News Releases: Guidance for Reporters Regularly check websites that often contain news releases of interest. Sign up for media lists of institutions often issuing news releases of interest. Double-check information from news releases. Dont base all stories on news releases. Also show initiative in coming up with story ideas. (Not everything important has a release.)
Using News Releases (cont) In general, use news releases only as starting points. – Consider what is missingand obtain it. For example, provide broader context. – If the news release is based on a journal article, obtain and read the journal article. – Do interviews, including with outside experts. – Consider using news releases as starting points for stories on broader topics or trends.
Discussion: Putting It Into Practice General questions, comments, and suggestions Your experience writing or using news releases; suggestions based on that experience Things you might do differently in the future