News releases are designed to alert media to newsworthy events or people. After delivery, they should be followed with a polite, not pushy, telephone call.
Clarity and brevity are keys for writing a good news release. Releases should be concise, with two pages the preferred maximum length. And, they should follow the journalistic method of organizing material into an “inverted pyramid.” This puts the most important and interesting facts first, followed by items of decreasing importance and additional detail:
Name, Organization, Address, Telephone, Email
(who, what, when, where, why, how, how much)
(Significant details, quotes)
(Other interesting but non-essential information)
When writing press releases, include Internet page links in the copy to deliver people to an information Web site. This is especially important when posting the press release directly to the Internet.
Sample of Local Media Pitch Letter:
Mr. John Doe
City Daily Newspaper
000 Some Street
City State Zip
Dear Mr. Doe:
Thousands of families in your area face a common medical problem that significantly affects the lives of their children and family members. That problem is asthma. Despite recent advances in medical knowledge about asthma, both the incidence and severity of the condition continue to be a national health problem. Nine million students under the age of 18 and 5.6 millon ages 5–17 have been diagnosed with this dangerous health problem, and recent studies have concluded that asthma is a leading cause for school absences due to illness. It is estimated that children miss nearly 15 days of school each year due to asthma. The good news, however, is that asthma is controllable.
The American Association for Respiratory Care and local respiratory care professionals in your city have initiated a special campaign to educate the public about asthma and to assist your local schools in helping their students with asthma perform at peak levels—Peak Performance USA.
We suggest that your readers would have a great deal of interest in an article about asthma, a "hot" health topic and condition that affects a wide group of people in our community. As the local representative from the respiratory care department at ___________ (hospital), I would be more than happy to serve as an information resource for you.
Enclosed is a Peak Performance USA media kit and additional information about asthma. Please call if I can answer any questions, provide additional information or coordinate interviews and/or research. I'll phone soon to see how I might be of help.
Thank you for your valuable time and consideration.
(Local Respiratory Care Professional)
___________________ (phone #, email)
Sample Local Press Release (fill-in-the-blank):
Contact: ________________________ (Local RT) ___________________(phone #, email)
__________________ (City Name) Members Of the American Association for Respiratory Care Initiate Local School Asthma Management/Awareness Program
(Appropriate Date) ______________________
(City Name) ____________ respiratory care professionals at _____________ (Hospital or Institution) announced today the initiation of Peak Performance USA/________________ (City Name), a local school asthma awareness and management campaign, supported by Monaghan Medical Corporation, Forest Laboratories, Inc., and Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The American Association for Respiratory Care-sponsored program offers Peak Performance USA asthma management support free-of-charge to local area schools. The program provides information, school asthma management support, peak flow meters, holding chambers and public education material about asthma to school nurses, in addition to guidance from __________________(City Name/Institution) respiratory care practitioners.
According to ____________, respiratory care professional at _____________ (Institution) (local contact). Nine million students under the age of 18 and 5.6 million ages 5–17 have been diagnosed with this dangerous health problem, and recent studies have concluded that asthma is a leading cause for school absences due to illness. Children miss nearly fifteen million school days a year due to asthma.
“Unfortunately, despite recent advances in medical knowledge about the condition, the prevalence of asthma continues to be a national health problem,” commented ________________(same respiratory care professional).
Asthma can be controlled. Use of a peak flow meter, like the one provided by Monaghan Medical Corporation and the Peak Performance USA program, helps in monitoring an asthmatic individual's breathing functions. Children with asthma often have acute episodes of breathing problems such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. The cause for these episodes is an over sensitivity of the lungs' airways resulting in overreaction to certain triggers. These triggers may include air pollution, allergies, colds or flu, animals, smoke, weather changes or emotional stress, among other things.
"Asthma education, and school staff monitoring of these children, can improve their quality of life and school performance. The American Association for Respiratory Care developed Peak Performance USA as a way to help in the delivery of this education and management at school," continued _______________ (same contact). ________________ (City Name) School nurses and other administrative staff may obtain additional information, support, and a Peak Performance USA materials, by calling the respiratory care department at __________________ (Institution), visiting the Internet at www.PeakPerformanceUSA.info, or calling the American Association for Respiratory Care at (972) 243-2272.