Humboldt State University
Marketing and Communications
photo of campus

Media Relations

News Release Tips

How to Write a News Release

Faculty, student organizations and departments that want media coverage of accomplishments or upcoming events are encouraged to write a news release and submit it to Humboldt State NOW.

Marketing and Communications will then review and lightly edit submissions and then send them to the regional media. There are no guarantees of coverage, but a well-written news release will greatly increase chances that it will get covered A news release is essentially a short news story that contains all the pertinent information you wish to pass on to the public. Reporters call these details the "who, what, when, where, why and how." Writing a news release need not be time-consuming or difficult. Keep it simple. Include the important names, facts, dates, locations and contact information.

Sample release

NEWS RELEASE

Feb. 26, 2008

For information, contact: John Q Student at (123) 456-7890, john.q.student@humboldt.edu

Headline Headline Headline Headline

ARCATA - Write the lead paragraph, which should include the most important information

Follow with supporting information such as who, what, where, when, why and how details that did not fit in the lead paragraph.

"Add a quote," Student says.

###

The Process

Start by writing NEWS RELEASE in capital letters atop the page

Below this add the date so reporters will know whether the information is new or old. Then add your contact information: Contact: John Q. Student at (123) 456-7890, john.q.student@humboldt.edu

Then write a headline, typically in bold letters:

HSU Graduate Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Start the first sentence with the dateline, which is the community where the news originates. News from HSU should begin with the dateline of Arcata. Now move on to the first sentence. Get to the point. Include the most important information. If you are announcing an event, it is essential to provide the date, time and location:

ARCATA - Humboldt State University graduate John Student will speak about winning the Nobel Peace Prize during a public lecture at 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 31, at 1 Harpst St. in the Kate Buchanan Room.

If the purpose of your news release is to spread word about new research, an award or accomplishment, the first sentence should include the pertinent information needed to grab the attention of reporters and the public:

ARCATA - Banana peels are a hazard when tossed on the sidewalk, according to a new study by Humboldt State University researcher John Q. Researcher

Now proceed to the body of the news release. The body should contain context that supports and builds on the information in the lead:

More than 100 million people are injured every year around the world by banana peels, according to Researchers’s study, published in the January issue of Science.

If the news release is about an individual, include some information about that person that pertains to the subject matter:

Researcher became interested in the subject of banana peel safety while working as a fruit vendor. He earned a double major in agriculture and earth sciences at HSU.

Include a quote:

"Banana peels are the land mines of fruit," Researcher says.

Avoid jargon and insider language, which will lessen the chances that your accomplishment will receive media coverage. For instance:

The skins of the elongated, pulpy yellow fruit pose an enhanced risk of human slippage and posterior contusions.

Instead, write in plain English:

Banana peels cause people to slip and bruise their behinds.

Keep it short. Three or four paragraphs will do. Your job is to generate interest and catch the eye of reporters so they will follow up with a longer story and interview. Avoid exaggerations and overstatements. They call your credibility into question and may cause reporters to discard your release.

End all news releases with ### or END.

As with any publication, be sure to proofread your news release for clarity and grammar.

We suggest you submit your News Release to Humboldt State NOW so that we can disseminate it to the regional media. But, we also suggest you personally make follow-up contact with the local newspapers, TV and radio stations that you want to carry your story. Reporters are often very busy. Bringing the story to their attention again never hurts.

For more information on news releases, check out the following sites:

Publicity Insider

Wiki How's Press Release Guide