Press releases and stories
What makes a good press release?
In general, a press release should quickly hit the high points of the story, event or discovery and note why it matters.
Some general tips:
- Keep it to one page.
- Lead with the news. Don’t be cute; get right to the point. Answer the question, “Why should they care about this?”
- Put your most important facts at the start.
- Remember to cover the “who, what, where, when, why and how.”
- Keep it conversational. Would the average person — like an assignment editor — clearly understand the release and its terms and language? This isn’t the place for industry jargon.
- Have an easy and obvious way for people to reach out with questions.
- Have a simple one- or two-line main headline.
- Have a one-line subhead.
- Use AP style. It matters when pitching the media.
- If you’re sending this to TV, think visually. What will they “see”?
- Embed links to related websites, photos, videos and other assets.
- Have someone not directly involved with the event, project or research read over the release and see if they “get it.”
- Don’t oversell it. That’s the quickest way to lose the story and hurt your pitching credibility.
How do I pitch a story for the ASU News reporters to write?
Email ASU News with the relevant details of the potential story and give plenty of lead time. The ASU News team cannot take on all pitches, as the reporters are juggling multiple assignments at any given time.
If you’re working on a story (along with an estimated date) please loop in the ASU news team as early as possible to help them plan for the story in their editorial calendar and ensure that you and another writer aren’t working on the same thing.
Pitch a story to ASU News
What kinds of stories is ASU News looking for — whether I write them or the ASU News team does?
The ASU News team is looking for stories spotlighting ASU research and expertise, student success, community outreach and societal impact that appeal to a mainstream audience. The style of writing should allow anyone — whether they are connected to ASU or not — to take something away from the story and understand the impact that ASU is having both on students and on the community. That doesn’t mean that stories have to be dumbed down, but if they’re highly technical or scientific, they need to make clear to a nonacademic audience why this discovery is important.
Sometimes you just need to upload an announcement that a professor was named to a committee or won an award. We ask that those are kept to “briefs” length — around 250-350 words. If it’s possible, look for larger story possibilities. Sometimes you just need to write that committee announcement (again, as a brief). But other times you’ll be able to turn it into a Q&A showcasing that professor’s expertise on a certain topic — the committee appointment can be briefly mentioned in the intro, but the focus is on sharing their knowledge and expertise with the reader.
Timeliness is also a factor. If your story is covering an event, please get that story to us within a few days of the event ending. We’ve had event stories turned in five or six weeks after the event and unfortunately had to tell the writer we won’t be publishing those.
Request access to ASU News
How do I get my story in the ASU News email newsletter?
Stories in the ASU News email are designed to be a mix of celebration of big wins for the university, explorations of the latest cutting-edge research, spotlights on our expert faculty members, student-centric stories that appeal to the ASU community and top-view trend pieces about the university and its mission. Anything in our email should apply to a broad audience.
If you have a story that you believe fits that bill, please give the editors a heads-up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Many slots are filled by work coming from our reporters, but often we have space to include stories from unit communicators as well.
What if I need an approved quote from President Crow for my story?
Contact Denise Quiroz.
Media Relations is a mix of university, public relations and news media veterans who focus on communicating the stories of ASU to members of the national and local news media for maximum impact in the communities the university serves. In addition to what is planned, media relations officers are also first responders — jumping into the fray in matters of crisis and being responsive to the hourly inquiries from news media — who work on deadlines that demand speed, accuracy and precision — while always conveying the core tenets of the university.
Our team can help unit and college communicators as an extra resource, whether that means pitching or helping to pitch stories around the state or around the globe; being an extra set of hands at media events; or helping to strategically discuss media outreach and coverage strategies.
We also maintain ASU’s expert database, which is a tremendous resource to help increase awareness of researchers and faculty members. We talk daily with Arizona media of all types and are in regular contact with more than 100 top national journalists. We also are on call to help with breaking news or crisis communications situations in real time.
Need an assist, or want to share an upcoming story or event that likely will land media attention?
ASU media relations officers cover beats across the university. To connect with the media relations officer who you need, contact email@example.com.
For breaking news and crisis communications
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 480-965-3502.
ASU expert directory
We have about 400 ASU experts listed in our directory for the media, including their contact information, quotes and a description of their specialties. This is a powerful tool for landing media attention for faculty; it also is a great tool to help journalists on deadline. See the expert guide.
For questions on the expert guide, contact email@example.com.
MRSC also offers media training and has a broadcast studio on the Tempe campus, which can be used for podcasts, portrait photography and broadcast interviews. For questions or assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.