Journalists Tell Us Their News Release Do's & Don'ts
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    January 2014
2014 Journalist Survey
Journalists Tell Us Their News Release
Do’s & Don’ts
PWR recently surveyed 239 journalists to learn about their news release preferences.

The journalists were from all types of media outlets with newspaper (28%), magazine (24%), freelance (18%) and Internet (14%) most heavily represented. A large percentage of all respondents  (73%) also contribute to a blog or other online site in addition to their traditional duties.

While journalists continue to receive news releases in a variety of ways, including email, wire service and online newsrooms, an overwhelming majority—87%—prefer to receive releases via email. Like the rest of us, journalists organize their lives in the inbox and online. They conduct their research on their computers (98%), smartphones (26%), and tablets (19%).
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In addition, they want loads of transferable content. Here are the assets they told us were (very) important:

1. Relevant backgrounders, bios, etc . 86%
2. High res, downloadable images 82%
3. Verbiage from release 78%
4. Link to relevant blog on topic 51%
5. Web quality downloadable video 48%
6. Info about brand’s social media platforms to easily follow 42%
7. Downloadable logo 40%
8. Low res, downloadable images 39%
9. Embed code for transferable video 36%
10. Broadcast quality downloadable video 31%
11. Embed code for individual images 30%
12. Downloadable audio 30%
13. Social Media bookmark for sharing and archiving release 29%
14. Image player with transferable embed code 28%
15. Web content such as Slideshare, Photobucket, etc. 25%
16. Tweet This icon to immediately tweet content 25%
17. Link to brand’s RSS feed 16%
18. Chat box feature to enable instant dialogue 11%
19. Pinterest pin 11%
To view infographic of chart data, click here.

Every year, the importance of easy access to high and low res images shows up near the top of the list of assets journalists want most with releases. So we asked if access to images actually increased the chances they would cover a story. More than 77% are more likely to run a release if it has graphics.
77% want images
Content Tip Link to Blogs
Every year, journalists tell us they would like releases to include links to relevant blogs. Yet, we rarely see PR professionals including them. Consider adding to your next release.
Design Tip Are you easy to find?
Journalists tell us they are frustrated when contact information is hard to find. Make sure your release template is designed with contact info "above-the-fold" for easy access.
Delivery Tip No attachments, please.
One of the most common responses from journalists is that they do not like attachments. So make sure to send releases loaded with assets but no attachments!
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What They SaidFinally, as in years past, we asked journalists to tell us in their own words how they want releases and what they want in them. You can see all the unedited responses collated here but a majority simply said they wanted releases via email and noted assets—images were common—they wanted with them. A few exemplary responses are below:

Email is preferred. Mail only if there are samples, media kit that can't be seen online. Editors ALWAYS want hi-res images and high quality video. Low res photos are not helpful at all. Also press releases MUST have contact info (cell/email) for PR people to respond to asap. Thanks!

Direct email. Always need high res photos. also need video when available. most important: Twitter handle then Facebook to share with followers for viral broadcasting of a story.

Prefer to receive via email. Mostly interested in quality background information about products/topics and hi-res images related to them.

Email releases are fine, if video embeds/links are available, I will often use them--if there is no photo (or video) support, I cannot publish any part of the release.

I like to receive releases over email. Multimedia is important (photos, video, etc.) but it doesn't necessarily have to be included as long as it can be downloaded from a website or sent on request. If the attachments are too long, my inbox fills up too quickly.

Emailed summary with link to full release and downloadable high res & web quality photos is the most preferred.

arrow   Read More Quotes from 2014 Journalist Survey


Next month we’ll share more info from our survey regarding what we learned about how social media is changing the way they work and cover stories. Click here to subscribe to our list or send us an email and we’ll add you.