Tips in writing a media release


What exactly does an editor look for in a media release so it makes the news?, a community association PRO emailed in.

In earlier post, we wrote about What makes a story newsworthy?.

By way of this post, allow us to expand that article.

We normally consider five factors, and any story which has at least two of these factors is considered for publication.

1. Timing – We like to have stories written and sent to us on the day the event happens or the day after the event.

2. Proximity – Stories that happen near to a publication’s readers will make the news rather those that happen far from them. By “near to a publication’s readers”, this could be by physical proximity or by special interest.

3. Significance – No doubt, a story of an event or of a person affecting thousands is more newsworthy than one that affects only a handful.

4. Prominence – Famous people attract wider readership, that is why they get more coverage. If you catch a cold, that won’t make news, but if a popular singer catches cold, that’s big news.

5. Human interest – A human interest story is a feature story that tells about a person, people, their problems concerns or achievements in a way that brings about interest or sympathy in the reader or viewer.

Human interest stories are sometimes called “the stories behind the stories”. Examples of human interest stories: an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, profile of an achiever, the life of a worker in another country, and similar other stories.

So, how do you write your story or media release?

Like other news stories, your story should be written in a way that conforms to the “standards” of news writing.

These are the elements of the 5Ws and 1H – What, When, Where, Who, Why and How. Any PRO of a group or an organisation should be well familiar with these.

In addition to writing your media release along the 5Whs and 1H format, it is also important to be mindful of the following:

1. Make sure your information is newsworthy.

2. Deal with the facts.

3. Make your first paragraph a compelling read. Ask yourself: “How are people going to relate to this and will they be able to connect?”

State your first paragraph in one or two sentences like: “Overseas Filipinos now have the opportunity to purchase a house and lot at very affordable prices.”

4. Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it.

5. Start with a brief description of the news, then distinguish who announced it, and not the other way around.

6. Keep your sentences short and simple.

7. Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language.

8. Do not make the job of the editor difficult. Check your spelling, grammar and sentence construction. Use active voice instead of passive voice in writing your sentences.

9. Send a photo to go with your media release. Make sure that the photo you send is relevant to your media release and it has a caption. Most importantly, make sure you have copyright to the photo or you have the permission of the copyright owner to use the photo.

10. Do not forget to provide your contact information: individual to contact, address, phone, fax, email, web site address.

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  1. [...] Do not also make the mistake of distributing a Media Alert during the event. The Media is already there with you, remember? Instead, on the day immediately after the event, you should give out your Media Release with the story of the event written in a style you would like to see. Your Media Release is the news story or article about the event and should observe the standards of news reporting. [...]