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A news release, press release or press statement is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value. Typically, it is mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, and/or television networks. Commercial newswire services are also used to distribute news releases. Sometimes news releases are sent for the purpose of announcing news conferences.
A news release is different from a news article. A news article is a compilation of facts developed by journalists published in the news media, whereas a news release is designed to be sent to journalists in order to encourage them to develop articles on the subject. A news release is generally biased towards the objectives of the author.
The use of news releases is common in the field of public relations, the aim of which is to attract favorable media attention to the PR firm's client, and publicity, the aim of which is to attract favorable media attention for products marketed by the client.
"-30-" is a traditional closing for a press release. It started during the Civil War when telegraphers tapped "XXX" at the end of a transmission. XXX is the Roman numeral for 30.
Video news releasesEdit
Some public relations firms send out video news releases (VNRs) which are pre-taped video programs that can be aired intact by TV stations. Often, the VNRs are aired without the stations' identifying or attributing them as such. Many regard the unattributed airing of VNRs as a breach of journalistic ethics -- but some TV stations do yield to the temptation, filling airtime while simultaneously foregoing the trouble and expense of sending camera crews to go out and shoot original news footage.
TV news viewers can often detect the use of VNRs within television newscasts; for example, many movie-star "interviews" are actually VNRs, taped on a set which is located at the movie studio and decorated with the movie's logo. Another frequent example of VNRs masquerading as news footage is videotapes of particular medical "breakthroughs", which are really produced and distributed by pharmaceutical companies for the purpose of selling new medicines.
Video News Releases can be in the form of full blown productions costing tens of thousands or even six figures. They can also be in the TV news format, or even produced for the web.
News releases have been a large source of criticism against various types of journalists, who sometimes rely on them heavily. Many articles in the video game and business press, particularly, are little more than recycled press releases. Some people criticize writers for creating articles in this way, because it consititutes free advertising for the company in question, especially if it is not contrasted with criticism of that company or product in the same article, and because sloppier news outlets will publish anything released by a PR office they are familiar with while ignoring possibly better stories. On the other hand, few dispute that news releases remain a valuable way for media to be made aware of new products, services, agencies and upcoming events of interest.
Embargoed news releaseEdit
Sometimes a news release is embargoed -- that is, news organizations are requested not to report the story until a specified time. For example, news organizations usually receive a copy of presidential speeches several hours in advance. In such cases, the news organizations generally do not break the embargo. If they do, the agency that sent the release may blacklist them. A blacklisted news organization will not receive any more embargoed releases, or possibly any releases at all.
- Electronic press kit (EPK)
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