Posted by: loveleigh | April 23, 2009

The Anatomy of a News Release…

pressrelease-287x300In my PRCA 2330 class on Wednesday April 22, we learned the format of a news release. The news release is the most commonly used public relations tactic.  The timing of this lesson is actually perfect since I am also learning about news releases in my Journalism class. Professor Nixon broke down the “anatomy” of a news release into 13 parts.

The major elements of a news release are :

1. Letter head with an address

  • The logo of the organization should be the first thing on the page
  • Should be centered

2. The words NEWS RELEASE

  • May sound like common sense, but it is crucial that the document is labeled exactly what it is… a news release


  • Embargo means the journalist should hold the story until the date specified

4. Media Contact Information

  • This is the person the media should contact if they have any questions
  • Should put down phone numbers and e-mail addresses that are checked frequently

5. Headline

  • Should all be in uppercase letters
  • Bold and centered

6. Dateline

  • The city and the state abbreviation
  • You can put the date here, preceded by a hyphen

7. Lead

  • Who, What, When and Where

8. Quotations

  • Needs to look like someone actually spoke it and not crafted by a PR person

9. The Body

  • Briefly summarize the key points
  • Keep paragraphs short

10. Page Slugs

  • Needed if it’s more than one page, but always aim for only one page
  • An indicator showing that you’re moving from one page to the next
  • at the bottom of the first page ‘MORE’ is acceptable
  • at the top of the second page a brief explanation of what the news release is

11. Additional Contact Information

  • One of the last paragraphs
  • Use ” for additional information” followed by a name or website

12. Boilerplate

  • The last paragraph containing additional information about the organization that isn’t specific to the event.

13. End Sign

  • To indicate the end of the news release
  • # # # or -30- or END is acceptable

I really enjoyed class today because I learned something I know I’m going to use in the future. Whether during an internship or job, I will need to know how to write a good press release.

*Information was provided by Barbara Nixon. Check out her presentation!



  1. Good recap, Leigh! Press Releases are such a vital part of PR, it’s important to keep the basics in mind! A lot of good writers forget the basics, like formatting, and even that’s important too!

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