Time and time again I read of abuse and other things
happening in some area and wonder why the media haven't been notified.
Sometimes the people involved tell me the media doesn't care or that
they are controlled by the opposition (government, business, hunters,
etc.) While there may be some control, it is not far reaching. In cases
where local media cannot be made to inform the public on abuse issues,
extend your contact beyond your immediate area. Send news releases to
media all over the region -- or even the state. Major urban media is
more apt to run stories than local when there are controversial issues.
In any case, there is a specific way to write news
releases. Most people do not follow the best form -- and/or make them
I am attaching a news release model form I designed for
my students and one we use here in IL. Use this form when writing a news
release whether it be to advise the medium of something or to give
notice of a news conference.
The news conference is a very powerful way to get an
issue before the press (and the public.) There, you can make your point,
answer questions, show videos, photos, etc. At the conference, be sure
to have a media-kit for each attendee. This should contain a statement
of the issue, valid and verifiable proof (documentation) of the charges
or assertions you are making, photos and video if available. It is also
a good idea to have an expert present at the conference. This is a big
media draw. If you are talking about the link between animal and people
abuse, bring in an expert on the subject and mention he/she will be at
Hold the conference at a local motel meeting room or
some other place easily accessible to attendees. Invite members of ALL
media -- print as well as electronic.
For further help and to have any questions answered you
can contact Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org I am a co-chair of a Political
Action Committee that works only on animal issues and am a registered
lobbyist in IL. We work with the media all the time
How To Build A News Release
NEWS RELEASE NEWS RELEASE NEWS RELEASE NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: John Smith 312 555 1212
Julie Jones 312 555 1234
BEGIN YOUR NEWS RELEASE WITH AN ATTENTION-GETTING
KEEP IT TO ONE OR TWO LINES AND WRITE IN CAPS.
This is the format for a news release (sometimes
referred to as a press release.) Note the short paragraphs and simple
words. Here are some tips for writing great releases:
1. Keep the release to one page. Remember, media people
get dozens of news releases every day. Make yours easy to read with
short graphic paragraphs.
2. In your first paragraph give the main details.
Remember the journalistic "what, who when where how." However, use a
Tabloid technique to get their attention.
3. In writing the text remember to use text designed to
agitate, penetrate, get attention. For instance, instead of writing,
"Jones has beaten his child before, but the judge still said the child
had to be returned to him." Write, "Judge Kelly, unconcerned with the
childís welfare, ordered her returned to her abusive father."
If you would like to make a comment but donít know how
to work it in, consider quoting someone. In some cases, writers design a
statement and then ask someone they know if it would be okay to use
their name in quoting. For example, letís say you wanted to blast the
judge in the statement above. You could "quote" someone. E.g., A
neighbor, Mary Wilson, is afraid for the childís life "That man has
beaten that poor girl time and again. Itís just a matter of time before
he kills her.." Remarked Wilson after the hearing. "What kind of
screwball judge would do a thing like that?"
You see how this allows you to make powerful statements
and do so in a way that is stronger and often more credible than a
simple text paragraph.
Send your news releases via FAX to the Assignment Editor
when sending to radio or television and to the Managing Editor for
newspapers. Use a cover page or memo. You do not have to know the
editorís names. Send them as soon as you feel media should know. If
possible, send Sunday evening so that they are waiting when staff
arrives Monday morning. In general, itís best to send your releases late
at night for recovery early in the morning. (And the lines are less
It is always best to use a LETTERHEAD when sending news
releases. If your group is too small to have letterhead stationary, you
can devise one easily enough with your word
Go on to Excuses For
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