Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to Write a Bad News Release

When I was in J School - journalism that is - we were taught a very formulaic way to write.  You are supposed to get the who, what, where, when and why all into the first paragraph.  Then each descending paragraph can expand upon each of the five Ws.  The reason being that editors cut from the bottom of stories to make sure that everything fits in the newspaper.  Of course radio writing is a different animal, but what's the sense of even talking about it now since the FCC has gutted the news business.

When I left the world of radio and print news to become a PR consultant, I decided that news releases would follow the same format.  In some of the small towns I sent the releases to, they ran them as is.  I wanted to make it easy for someone to just plug it in.

In radio, I saw some of the worst news releases, some of which even included photos!  Yeah, like we were going to describe the photos on the air.  What were they thinking?  Or perhaps it was they weren't thinking in the first place.

There really should be a news release hall of shame and now there is something of that ilk on the internet.  Paddy Johnson of the wonderful art blog Art Fag City, has risen to the challenge on the Hyperallergic blog !  Go on over there and vote for your take on the worst.  They are both pretty dreadful, full of silly art speak and other hyperbolic language.

1 comment:

  1. Joey Skaggs uses Press Releases as a form of performance art. Like the April Fools Day parade he announces every year. Since 1986 every April 1st some members of the NYC 4th estate stand on the parade route waiting for something that will never happen. html://www.joeyskaggs.com/html/april/