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Monday
May142012

How to Write a News Release

By Jenna Oltersdorf

A news release is written in third person and works to educate an editor or reporter on a topic while selling them on a story angle. News releases are typically written about people, events, services or products.

News releases have evolved over time, but the format has remained fairly unchanged. They typically include contact information for the PR contact, a headline and sub-headline, a dateline, the body of the news release and a boilerplate. Three number symbols (###) centered at the bottom signal the end of the document.

Contact information
Typically included in the upper right or left corner of the document, this section outlines who should be reached if media contacts have questions. Include a name, phone number and email address at a minimum. For my news releases I always include my instant messenger screen name and sometimes include my Twitter username, too.

Headline and Sub-Headline
You only have a few seconds to grab the reader’s attention, so it’s important to spend time on your news release headline. The headline should sum up the news that is included in the release and engage the reader.

Dateline
Typically comprised of the city and state from which the news originated as well as the date, the dateline launches the news release and is the first piece of the intro paragraph.For more information on datelines and their proper format, go to www.apstylebook.com.

NOTE: AP Stylebook is what governs all of our writing in public relations, so be sure to grab a copy. Your first order of business is to learn how states are abbreviated in AP Style as opposed to typical post office style.

Intro Paragraph
Like the headline of a news release, the intro paragraph can make or break a story. The client name should always be mentioned in that very first sentence and the paragraph as a whole should sum up the entire news story.

Supporting paragraphs further elaborate on the news story and support the first paragraph.

Boilerplate
The boilerplate is included at the bottom of a news release and is noted as such by using a title such as “About the Chinet brand”. Note in the sample release below we have included two boilerplates. Why? There is a brand and a company in this example.

Sample News Release

For more information, contact:
Jenna Gruhala | Snackbox | 773.715.0879
jenna@snackbox.us | AIM: N20Jenna

TIPS FOR HOSTING A GREEN GATHERING

DeSoto, Kan. (February 2, 2009) – America’s premium disposable tableware brand, Chinet , practices sustainable processes in production and the brand encourages consumers to take that same level of commitment to protecting the planet when planning gatherings of any size.

Quick Tips for a Green Gathering Include:
- Send invitations via email rather than traditional printed invites
- Check out flea markets and secondhand stores for party décor
- Serve food on disposable tableware, like Chinet, made of 100% pre consumer recycled material and biodegradable in home compost
- Create a menu using local, organic produce; for great recipes, go to www.mychinet.com/recipes
- Use reusable towels for clean up and biodegradable trash bags
- Compost leftover party food and Chinet tableware

“Chinet brand gives you the strength and style you depend on, with the added piece of mind knowing you’re using environmentally-friendly products,” said Julie Stoetzer, Chinet Brand Marketing Manager. “Chinet® Classic White™ and Chinet Casuals™ lines are made of 100 percent pre-consumer recycled material. Both lines are also chlorine-free, microwave safe and fully biodegradable in home composting.”

Huhtamaki Americas, Inc., makers of Chinet products, practices sustainable processes in the production of both consumer and specialty packaging. By using recycled materials in the production of molded fiber products, Huhtamaki annually saves:
- Nearly three million trees each year
- One billion gallons of water which is equal to the supply of water for a city of 10,000
- 65 million gallons of oil or the equivalent of 31 million gallons of gas

These efforts, along with programs designed to reduce the company’s pollution and power use, have earned Huhtamaki a number of awards including the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Achievement Award. For more information, visit www.mychinet.com/environment.

About the Chinet Brand
Made in America since the 1930s, Chinet disposable tableware has a long history of making strong plates and even stronger memories as friends and family gather. Chinet products give you the strength and style you depend on with the added piece of mind knowing you’re using environmentally-friendly products. For more information about the Chinet family of products, visit www.mychinet.com.

About Huhtamaki
Established in 1920 as a specialty packaging organization, Huhtamaki provides many of the world’s most recognizable consumer goods packaging and foodservice containers, including the retail line of Chinet premium disposable tableware. For more information about Huhtamaki, visit www.us.huhtamaki.com.

###
Editors Note: Photos to accompany story available by contacting jenna@snackbox.us.


Once a news release is written, you’ll need to distribute it to appropriate contacts.

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