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Submitting a Press Release

How Do I Submit a Press Release?


Submit the press release to the reporter responsible for covering a beat relevant to Weatherization, such as community news, energy issues, or government operations.
Call the newsdesk and ask to whom you should send the press release. Newsroom aides will tell you which reporters are most likely to be interested in your story and give you contact information.

Contact information for reporters and editors is often listed on the web, but with the high turnover rates of local papers, this information is often incorrect and needs to be updated. Therefore, it is best to call the newsdesk directly. If you read the paper often, you can also follow reporter bylines to discover reporting beats.
Send the press release as the body of the message as well as in an attachment. Reporters are wary of opening attachments if they do not recognize the sender. 

If you want to introduce yourself or pitch your story idea, call when the newsroom is slow, usually before noon for a morning newspaper and after 3:00 p.m. for an afternoon paper. Find out when weekly newspapers are printed so that you can avoid distracting reporters on deadline. Keep your Weatherization Talking Points handy, in case you get tongue-tied.
Do everything you can to help the reporter complete the assignment. Include your evening telephone number in the press release, since reporters are often working on deadline and need last-minute interviews. The easier you make it for the journalist, the more likely you are to get a response. If you can, give reporters the telephone numbers of others who are worth quoting. The reporter will appreciate your assistance and be likely to remember you.
Send press releases as often as you have newsworthy information, but be careful about which stories you pitch. If reporters decide that press releases from your organization are generally not newsworthy, they will routinely throw them away without reading them.
Submit the release in a timely manner. Remember, "news" is current. Also, send your release at least one week before you want it published or before the event is to occur.


How Do I Submit Photographs?

Let the reporter know if you have a relevant photograph, but don't send it unless the photo is requested. A shot of a family receiving a new furnace, an award presentation, or a home being repaired are all good examples. This will humanize the subject. Try to make sure your logo is in the picture and that all proper safety equipment is being used.
Use photos that have good contrast between light and dark colors so that the image will be recognizable in black-and-white newsprint. Ask the subject of the photo for written permission before submitting photos to the press. Download the media release template developed by NASCSP and customize for your agency. If you e-mail the press release, include the photograph as a .tif or other photo file.

What Should I Do After Submitting a Press Release?


Follow-up! If the reporter rejects the idea, talk to the section editor (the editor responsible for whichever reporter received the release). If you are turned down again, find out why the story was rejected and then repackage the idea for a different section of the paper or try a new angle. If the story is still rejected, consider incorporating the press release details into an op-ed or a letter to the editor.

Remember that the story may be newsworthy, but many newspapers have limited space. If the story runs, be sure to send a thank-you letter. If not, be patient, but persistent. Well-written press releases will eventually result in published stories.
Please check out Press Release Examples for ideas.