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Communications Toolkit--Telling Your Weed & Seed Story Office of Justice Programs Seal Community Capacity Development Office Office of Justice Programs
Tools of the Trade

Media Release Tips

  • Use an active, informative, attention-grabbing headline.

  • Make the release only as long as necessary to provide the information. Two to three pages is optimal. Other information can be included in your background pieces.

  • Work your way from the most important information to the least important. In the first (lead) paragraph, note the importance of the subject and include as many of the six essential questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how) as possible. Generally, editors cut a story from the bottom up, so you need to put the most important information up front.

  • Write in an active, engaging, and concise style that is easy to read and understand. Avoid jargon. Spell out abbreviations and acronyms the first time they’re used. Put technical ideas into lay language.

  • Use quotes and attribute them appropriately.

  • End with a boilerplate paragraph that gives standard, concise information about your organization and its purpose.

  • Always include the name, phone, and e-mail of your contact person for more information.

  • Do not trust your computer spellchecker. Take time to proofread for spelling and grammatical errors and have someone else review the release before you send it out. Two heads are always better than one.