Journalism contains many different aspects- photojournalism, public relations, print news, news editorial, advertising, broadcast journalism, etc. Specifically, for example, one of the most important positions correlating to broadcast journalism is public relations. Although journalists and public relationists do not always see “eye to eye”, journalists need public relationists and public relationists need journalists. Moreover, by definition, public relations is anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization. They do this by positively promoting the organization they work for by creating news releases, organizing news conferences, public speaking, and coordinating crisis communication to name a few.
Press releases are the main job for anyone who works in the public relations field. Press Releases are organized messages written in a style to appeal to news media outlets in hopes of outlets will disseminate messages to the targeted audience. When writing the release, it is very important to identify the public in which you plan to target. Various publics have different appealing for ideas. Thus, it is the job of the public relationists to write a press release specifically targeting a group of people. After targeting a public, the audience should be appealed by an incentive. (e.g. providing free food, music, games at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life) Lastly, the press release must be written in away that journalists find it newsworthy. The press release should essentially define the organizations purpose for the journalist. If it does not, the journalists will throw it away. All in all, in a press release, consider the audience, the organization, and the media.
In regards to my press release assignment on the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) promotion of Relay for Life, I targeted a specific audience. The ACS collaborated with theUniversityofSouthern Mississippistudents to raise funds and promote cancer awareness for the event. Thus, I targeted Southern Miss students through the Student Printz, which many students read on a daily basis. I identified the purpose of the organization and wrote it in a way to appeal to the audience as well as to where a journalist could find this event newsworthy in publicizing on the air. When writing the release, I used the inverted pyramid style. I created a compelling lead, engaging headline, avoiding exaggeration of words, and emphasizing concise points so that it would be appealing to the audience as well as a journalist.
Moreover, press Releases and news articles have similarities and differences. They are similar in that they are written in the inverted pyramid style, crafting concise sentences, engaging headlines, and short paragraphs in the body. They are different in the fact of the lead does not cater to as many of the 5W’s (who, what when, where, why/how) as print leads do. Most importantly, press releases are written to promote organizations as opposed to news stories are written to inform consumers of what is taking place in society. The lead of a press release should be written in regards to reflecting the organization’s goal or need, but remembers the needs of the media. The lead of a print story reflects only the essential characteristics of newsworthiness. Press Releases also have a slight “sales pitch” in the headline to catch the attention of consumers.
Overall, as I stated earlier, journalists need public relationists for information while public relationists need journalists for exposure to the media outlets.