Marilyn's Life From East to West

Chapter 14- News Releases, Media Alerts, and Pitch Letters
April 29, 2009, 3:29 am
Filed under: Reading Notes

Seeing as how this was the last chapter that we were able to get through, it seems very appropriate.  Why? Well, because all three of these things are a MAIN part of public relations, especially news releases (which is what I have heard the most about).

A news release is also known as a press release, and was originally created by Ivy Lee.  The basic purpose of a news release is to cover the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Why.  These questions are answered and then sent out to a publications such as a newpaper or broadcaster.  They are typically a page long and to the point, never too wordy otherwise the editor will toss it (they do not have a lot of spare time).  Here are some tips from the text when writing a news release:

  • Use short headlines and subheads to get to the point.
  • Don’t use generic words such as leading provider, be more SPECIFIC
  • Tell the news and the announcement at hand- nothing irrelevant
  • Critique your writing by asking “who cares?”

Those are just a few to keep in mind that I though were helpful.  Also be sure to check out the powerpoint that I posted from Professor Nixon; I found it to be very helpful.


Media Alerts are also known as media advisories and they are meant to alert the media about upcoming events and media opportunities.  They are typically short with a headline and bullets explaing the 5 W’s.  Fact sheets are another important tool that are distibuted to the media in order to give them additional background information on a product, person, service, or event.

Pitch Letters are given to the editor to try and catch their attention for a certain project or event.  Here are some tips from the text:

  • Use a succinct line to tell the editor what you have to offer!
  • Keep the message brief; no longer than one screen.
  • Do NOT include attachments.
  • Establish an E-mail relationship.

These three aspects should all be fully understood because writing is a critical part of public relations and knowing the manner or doing so will increase your chances of being successful.  I hope that this summary could help everyone a little!


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