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News Releases

News releases, aka press releases, invade newsrooms in swarms via snail mail, fax and e-mail, sent by individuals, businesses, governments and organizations who want you to publicize their activities.


FIU publishes news releases on its home page and has a whole Media Relations Department devoted to publicizing what happens here. Miami-Dade County puts releases on its home page; Broward posts them here. Many agencies use services like PR Newswire to distribute releases nation- or even world-wide.


Many aren't worth the paper they're written on, others provide valuable news tips and still others announce events worth telling the community. We'll use a press release to begin learning about ledes and story structure.


First, read Chapter 11 in our text. You might also want to read or re-read Chapters 7 and 8.


Then, look at this release sent out by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Click here to see the story the Sun-Sentinel published off this release, slightly edited here for class purposes.


You'll note that the release has been rewritten to focus on the news, rather than on the FWC, the governor, the Legislature or anyone else. The reporter who handled the release decided what was important to readers and organized it in a logical way.


Remember that a news release is nothing more than a set of notes. Think about them the same way you thought about the police stories we did last night. Find the lede and structure them in inverted pyramids. Emphasize the local angle.


Your assignment is Chapter 11 in the workbook, Excercises 1 and 2. Exercise 1 asks you to read several releases and answer some questions about them. In Exercise 2, you'll look at three news releases and turn them into brief stories.





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