Press releases and statements are the pre-prepared material and are considered as some important tools of EMB media relations. As they are easy to use, pre-prepare documents which help the media in running correct news on time and can either be published or broadcasted in the form of large sections or as a whole by media organizations, they prove to be advantageous for EMB because they provide a satisfaction regarding the intended transmission of the message.
It is very important to understand the difference between press releases and press statements as they both have different meanings, but many organizations makes a mistake by using the terms conversely. For the announcement or an update for new information or for transmitting news like statistical data, lists of candidates, or lists of polling sites, a press release is used where as on the contrary, for transmitting a reactionary statement i.e. making a public comment by EMB, a press statement is used.
There are varieties of channels through which Press releases/statements can be transmitted. For instance, fax, delivery by hand, email, post, or Media Centre notice board. Moreover, Press conference plays a very important role in it as it ensures that the information documented is accurate and just.
A balance should be maintained by the EMB Media Relations Department in issuing press releases and statement otherwise various consequences might be seen. Firstly, the press release and statement issued more in number with less significant information will affect the media in such a way that their interest will be lost and they will be seen no more interested in the information when it actually arrives. Secondly, the press officers will have to face a bombardment of questions. The EMB Media Relations Department should highlight the importance of maintaining a balance, during their consultation with the media as they can provide them with good advice on how much information should be transmitted by EMB and how much is already being transmitted. For more information, you can refer to the Consultations with Media and Relevant Stakeholders section.
Writing a Press Release/Statement
To understand the amount of information consumed by the audience and the channels by which they ‘tune into’ them, it is very important to have an experience press officer having knowledge about journalism and training. In most of the countries the style of “inverted pyramid" is adopted by the trainers to train the journalists. According to this style, the start is taken from a broader topic or a lead paragraph and is then narrowed down in sequential paragraphs holding essential details. This technique helps in making the information clear to the reader in an effective and short way without losing its essence. An effective press releases and statements should also be written in the same way.
In addition to it, an effective press releases and statements should be to short and to the point, written in an easy, story like language having no jargons.
Writing a press release/statement in the form of news story also helps in keeping a written record of it. There is a chance that such writings might either be included in a print article or broadcasted on media. Moreover, this provides an ease to the editors of poor countries as they get an instant, well-written copy of it.
In this article we described about the press release and press statement used by EMBs. However, Press release, press statement, media release, press announcement, news release etc are some other terms used by the trainers, sometimes interchangeably or separately depending upon the size, information, timing and various other factors.