News Release Best Practices
A news release is written to promote newsworthy campus events and information and is distributed to targeted members of the media and to members of the community.
Successful media relations depend on promoting events far enough in advance so local media outlets have adequate time to promote and/or plan to cover Weber State University events and news.
In an effort to maximize positive coverage of our university, public relations office has adopted the following deadlines/guidelines for creating press releases and event calendar listings. Bear in mind we may not be able to honor all press release requests, due to current workload.
Guidelines (and Deadlines)
For events, please request a press release no later than two weeks prior to an event. When requesting a press release, please include answers to:
- How much does it cost (if an event)?
Include high-resolution photos of your speaker and/or a graphic element associated with your presentation or area of campus. These visuals can be included with the press release sent to local media or posted online.
Most press releases written by Marketing & Communications are posted as headlines on the weber.edu homepage. People searching the internet may find your release and learn about your event or news.
Online press releases can offer additional content, such as video or audio files embedded in the release, as well as links to other web pages and sources referenced in the release. If you have content like this, be sure to let us know so we can include it with the release.
Media Relations Events Calendar Deadlines
Weekly media relations calendars are sent out each Friday morning (except during the summer months).
Monthly calendars typically are sent on the Friday before the last full week of the month.
In order to be included in this calendar, events must have a connection to WSU, one of its outlying campuses or centers, academic departments, programs, campus offices, clubs or organizations.
Calendars can be viewed at weber.edu/WSUToday/EventsCalendar.html.
The deadline for submitting items for the calendar of events is typically the Wednesday before the last full week of the month.
Melissa Smith in media relations sends out email reminders at the start of each month in an effort to gather details about upcoming campus events.
Please send your calendar events to Melissa Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information.
- Day(s) of week
- Date(s) (month and date) of the event
- Sponsoring organization or group that is putting on the event
- Name or title of event along with brief description or summary
- Time of event
- Location (include an address if taking place off campus)
- Cost associated with event
- Phone number, e-mail address and/or URL for more information
- Contributing to Community Calendars
To generate community awareness, you may consider these additional free ideas.
Why won’t you publicize our annual event?
A lot of factors go into news outlets determining what to cover. Annual events are important, but by their very nature (they happen every year) they don’t always lend themselves to being newsworthy. A new event or one that has a new angle is much more appealing to news organizations. Likewise, just because your event has attracted a lot of press coverage in the past, doesn’t mean it will receive similar coverage this year.
Why don’t we publicize performing arts or athletics events?
Performing Arts and Wildcat Athletics have their own publicists who write press releases and work with the local media.
Why didn’t I hear about that speaker who was on campus last week until after the fact?
In the public relations office, we do our best to learn about upcoming events and publicize them, but we don’t always learn of events in time. Hence, sometimes events occur on campus without us knowing about them or without enough lead time to promote.
How do I get my event/news on TV?
Attracting television news coverage is extremely difficult. The physical distance between Ogden and Salt Lake City (where the four local affiliates are based) presents an obstacle to TV news coverage. Similarly, TV news is most interested in stories with great visuals. A successful pitch to TV generally, activities with lots of opportunities for action and strong pictures, and/or one that is exclusive to that television station (no other station is reporting that story).
A successful news pitch to TV takes time, persistence and a fair amount of advance planning. Since most local newscasts are seen across the state, the story needs to be of interest to a large segment of the population.
Why isn’t my event listed on the weber.edu home page?
Space on the weber.edu homepage is limited. The rotator, features and headlines offer a total of eight spots to promote events and campus news. During the semester (especially spring semester) the number of events we are asked to publicize often exceed the number of slots available on the main page.
Typically headlines are updated as events come and go, but during peak times, it may be impossible to place all events on the weber.edu page given the finite number of headlines available. The selection of items to include in the headlines is subjective, with priority given to items that advance the university’s image and/or have the greatest appeal to external audiences.
Allison Barlow Hess, public relations director
Melissa Smith, public relations