|Guide to Managing Media and Public Relations in the Linux Community|
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Print editors and journalists are notoriously overworked and underpaid. A well-written news release will often be used word for word, with maybe a few changes for "objectivity" or to accommodate the publication's format.
The editorial staff at the Los Angeles Times says this about news releases:
A good news release is a concise, complete description of an upcoming event; a timely report of an event has just occurred; notification of important personnel or procedural changes in an organization; or other news or feature tips.
Bad releases—the ones that don't get used— often have these common mistakes:
Lack of a local angle.
Insufficient or inaccurate information (who, what, when, where, why, how).
Failure to include contact information for the organization.
Verbosity. (Try to keep the release to one or two pages, but balance brevity against failure to include necessary information.)
Lack of timeliness—the editor's deadline has passed or the news is released too long after the event.
Writing a news release does not have to be painful. What you need is a little time to gather all the facts: the who, what, when, where, why and how (and any additional information necessary to support).
Sometimes your news won't be used right away or in the form you provided. A writer may need time to rewrite your outline into a news story. Or, if a feature is being developed on Linux, the writer may use many sources for depth and objectivity. They may use quotable quotes, first-person anecdotes, statistics, and causes and effects from your releases as well as those of your competitors.
Deadlines are hugely important because the news media cannot delay publication or broadcasting. Don't bother editors with untimely information. If you can't pitch your story in time, wait for another opportune moment to come around.