Power Lines Forward
What journalists told us…

Once again this year, we asked our respondents to share any thoughts on their news release preferences. Their responses are informative regarding how they want to receive releases, what they want included with releases, what they think constitutes a good, or bad, release and general advice for PR pros. 


The best way to ensure that your story is covered is to send the release electronically. Sending a fax or mailed release puts the story outside of the computer desktop and outside of mind and harder to reuse your language as it would have to be transcribed. Unless the story is high priority mailed or faxed releases usually get ignored.

Email is best so we don't have to retype anything - it's already ready!
Email much preferred nowadays. Important for submitters to use Word or other widely used software, and avoid sending items in .pdf files (happens often).

The paper press kits are nice, but they seem like a waste of paper because I have to toss them all eventually. E-mail is more permanent and easier to store and organize.

Email is always, always the preferred method. I don't have time to be pitched over the phone, nor do I want to receive phone call follow-ups about whether I received an email. Most journalists would agree that if we're interested in a story, we'll be in touch with the publicist. The absolute, most important supplement to a press release is editorial-quality, hi-resolution photographs to illustrate the story. Good art is always an incentive to continuing with a story; if a good pitch comes along but there isn't any art available, nine times out of 10, we pass on the story. Media outlets often don't have a massive budget to send photographers to shoot everything, so we rely on publicists to hire decent photogs and provide images (in a timely manner). It's always, always appreciated when the images have been shot prior to the pitch and are readily available when we call to request them.

I really don't know why people mail them. It goes to my office, then by time it is routed to me, it is usually outdated. Mailing is not a good idea unless there is a superlong lead time.

Email is best for me -- with only one or two links - if there are more, I tend not to have time to check them out.

I usually disregard faxes. If I'm not given a brief synopsis of what the story is about, I probably will not read the release

90% are now coming via e-mail when 2 years ago it was about 50%
e-mail is best

Always email. Don't call or fax. Keep it simple. Provide photo ops, visual elements when pitching stories. Have a clear subject line in the email. We get so many, often times releases aren't noticed in our inbox.

I prefer emails BUT we're a community newspaper located in an area where broadband Internet is not available. We have a dial-up connection and the ONLY reason we don't further encourage people to utilize email in their submissions is because they try and send very large graphic files that clog our servers and create a myriad of problems. If people would simply send text with an option for larger files or graphics, it would make my life much, much, much easier...and increase the likelihood of their information actually making it into print.
We prefer pitches to come via e-mail or regular mail

E-mail is the quickest, most inexpensive way to do it!

e-mails easiest to keep track of and distribute. please do NOT follow up with phone calls. if i need more info, i will call you.


Thumbnail, quality J-Peg images help for our website. Audio bites, either wave files or mp3's etc. important for on-air.

Please include links to images because we are often working on deadline and it is after hours -- can't contact someone for images. I am more likely to use it if I can get to high-res images quickly

Since I carry a Blackberry it would be helpful to put as much as possible in text form and then repeat in attachments should you want pretty presentation
organized, not in three emails!!!300 dpi jpegs, store tags, digital release, please no pdfs


Do not send attachments

Don't simply attach a document and leave the body of the e-mail blank, those usually ensure a quick click to the trash. Editors receive hundreds of PSA's daily,if it's unclear we don't have time to download the document just to see what it is regarding; my assumption is if the person submitting the PSA doesn't have the time to include a summary of the event or material, I don't have time to read it.

I really hate it when people load up press releases with photos and documents I haven'[t asked for and that jam my mail box. Give me a link to a Web site for more info. I'll call you if I want a photo. I speak for many journalists about this

I do not like receiving attachments in PDF format. These are usually flyers, not press releases, and I cannot cut and paste information out of them. Everything has to be re-typed.

Do not like to receive newsletters or e-mails that require me to click on links to read.

skip the bios - they're always fluffed anyhow. And don't send logos, images, graphics & videos unless requested - my mailbox is too small. keep it to press release and RELEVANT bkg. of STORY -NOT company bkg. keep material concise, and with take-home message prominent - no time to weed through. don't call 2 hours after sending e-mail to see if i got it - too much to do, and working by largely by myself.

I prefer text in e-mail, no attachments, otherwise my e-mail box fills up and shuts down.

I prefer them to be sent in the body of an email instead of as an attachment.


The more professional its presentation, the more serious I will take the material.

The guy with the best written first paragraph and high res photo wins.

Shorter stories are always better

What I would like most is for people who write news releases to NOT use italics, all caps, bold type, underlined words and exclamation points. Releases that have these flagrant journalism violations usually end up in the trash can.

Clarity and brevity remain the watchwords.

Press releases should be concise, and to the point. I don't have the time to look for the information I need. Check for spelling, grammar, etc- write like a pro.

I don't like releases that have an agenda. I prefer releases that inform about possible stories, new trends, cultural changes, and general news, not specific new products or companies. And one press release is enough; please don't send more than a couple a year on the same topic.

Make it easy to find the most crucial info -- the who, what, where, why and when.

Don't send the whole thing in all caps, centered, etc. Make it easy to find a contact name, number and e-mail address.

Just the facts

I don't need duplicates of the same one. I'd prefer to receive more embargoed press releases to get cutting edge info.


More than half are too late for publication in the issues the senders desire. Even by e-mail. This is often because too many levels of bureaucracy must approve release and constitute bottlenecks, but sometimes it's just procrastination.
Few arrive in time for an editor to really think through coverage options. This is very, very stupid.

Too often -- almost always -- press releases come too late for proper planning. For example, January is cervical cancer awareness month. Getting information on that after January's already started is way too late. We should have had this in mid-December. Other times we hear about a book signing or other event only a day or so before it happens. We need at least a week's notice to properly plan coverage for things like this. Our pages aren't done on an overnight basis -- with a tight news hole in this economy we need as much prior notice as possible, not in the middle of the game things

Many releases I receive are not timely for a magazine's publishing schedule


I just wish people would research my job before sending me stuff that won't apply to my publication.

We want local connections on any story. If there any, highlight them.

If a press release is targeted to our newspaper in particular, please state in either the headline or the lead that the information pertains to Columbiana County.

I need some local (North Alabama/southern Midd Tenn) entry to almost every story I do.

I wish they would take the time to figure out if the product is relevant to the site I run. I run a green site and I get the most random, irrelevant products. It would also be nice if they sent only ONE email, not ten or twenty spams. And spelling and the right name would be nice too. I hate the abuse of PR flaks.

Do not send press releases that are irrelevant to our readership, which requires that companies us, i.e. our deadlines and our format.