Writing Press Releases

Sending us a press release is a great way to get our newsroom information about an event, award or other news item you’d like to see in the paper. If you’re new to press releases, here are some guidelines to get you started.

If you’re trying to get coverage for an event, you can also take a look at our Getting My Event Covered page for more information and ideas.


DO

Write a clear headline. Keep it brief and summarize the main point of the release. For instance, “Wa-Hi students honored at state convention.”


Summarize the story in the first paragraph. Include the 5Ws: who, what, when, where and why.


Use the rest of the body to provide background or context. If the press release is about a new program your organization is starting, this is the place to let us know where you got the idea. If it’s about an award, tell us a bit about how winners were selected or the work done to win it.


Include quotes from relevant people, such as the chair of the committee organizing an event or the coach or teacher responsible for a school sport or activity. Identify anyone quoted by first and last name, as well as title.


Provide links to more information, such as a website for your organization.


Give us contact information (a phone number and email address) for one or more people who are available to answer questions.


Include photos if you have them, with names and other caption information. See our photo submission guidelines for more information about what we look for in submitted photos. If there are relevant videos on YouTube or elsewhere, link those as well--we can embed them in the story.



DON’T

Forget to use good grammar, punctuation, spelling and the rest. It makes our lives easier and saves us time if we don't have to re-write your words.


Leave anything important out. What we write will be based on the information you send us, so anticipating questions an interested person would have (eg. “Where can I buy tickets?” “How much is the grant for?”) helps us and our readers out.


Include too much detail. Your press release should be one page at most. You don’t need to name every person responsible for an event or give a long history.


Use technical language or jargon. The information you send us should be understandable to an average person with no background in any particular industry.


Send the same release to multiple reporters or editors. If you have a previous relationship with a U-B reporter, feel free to send it to them, and they can pass it along as needed. If you’re not sure who to contact, take a look at our list of newsroom contacts.