Planning your Press Release
Now that you've tried your hand at a press release, using a list of miscellaneous information that I gave you on "From the Heart," you will probably understand me when I make the point that it's important to plan your work before you start.
You know from just paging through the newspapers that some stories are more interesting than others. You glance at the headlines and something catches your eye. You read the first paragraph and you get the gist of the story. You make an unconscious decision -- "That's all I need to know about that," or "Hmmm -- tell me more." And then you settle in to read the story... or you turn the page.
That's what editors do when they receive your release -- a quick glance tells them whether it's worth focusing on. From just a few seconds of reading, editors expect to find the "5 W's" of your story -- that is, they expect to know with certainty "What is this about?" And they also need to see why this story is news. That's why we pay so much attention to the lead paragraph.