Peace Love & Sillyness

News Releases, Media Alerts, and Pitch Letters

Posted on: 04/30/2009

Press Releases (News Releases):

  • Ivy Lee is known as the Father of News Releases
  • story that you write with hopes of having it published in a mass media channel (i.e. TV, internet, newspapers, radio)
  • Should be written in inverted pyramid style

Inverted Pyramid:

  • start with 5 w’s and 1 h (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How?)
  • story formatted like this: invertedpyramidgif

Guidelines for news release:
1. double-check ALL information
2. eliminate boldface and capital letters
3. include organization background
4. localize whenever possible

*Never send an internet news release as an e-mail attachment! (journalists very rarely open attachments, because it could be a virus)

Fact Sheets:

  • usually 1-2 pages
  • “cliff’s note” version of your organization
  • 8 things the fact sheet may provide:
  1. organization’s full name
  2. products/services offered
  3. annual revenue
  4. number of employees
  5. names and bios of top executives
  6. markets served
  7. position in the industry
  8. any other pertinent details

Media Kits (press kits):

  • prepared for major events or new product launches
  • more than just a story and facts
  • will include:
  1. main news release
  2. news feature about the development of the product/something similar
  3. fact sheets on product, organization, or event
  4. background info
  5. photos/drawings (with captions)
  6. bio material on spokesperson
  7. basic brochures


  • PR people use pitches to convince a journalist that their story is something their readers want! (impossible to do over e-mail or phone if they’ve never met the reporter before)


  • Most surveys show that editors and reporters prefer to recieve pr materials via e-mail.
  • Tips for e-mailing news releases and other materials:
  1. don’t send HTML e-mails
  2. don’t send attachments unless specifically requested to do so
  3. use extended headlines at top of news release that give the key message or point
  4. keep it short! reporters hate to scroll through multiple screens
  5. use blind copy distribution!! (no reporter wants to know that they’re part of mass mailing..this lowers your chance of your story getting published!)
  6. continually update e-mail addresses

These are my chapter 14 notes from Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron and also from my own notes I took in my Intro to PR class at Georgia Southern University.


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