#NewsEngagementDay Activity: How do Press Releases Influence the News?

Description: Thousands of press releases are distributed to media outlets every day. They cover topics including new products, events, new hires, project progress, and news affecting various communities. But how much influence do press releases have on news coverage? Have students identify an organization in which they are interested or would like to work. Have the students locate recently distributed press releases on the organization’s website or through a newswire. Next, have students search for corresponding news coverage. After students compare and contrast press release and news coverage, engage in a discussion about what they found. Which, if any, elements of the press release(s) were used in corresponding news coverage? Why do you think the press release(s) influenced (or didn’t influence) news coverage the way it did? Have students tweet their insights and industry best practices for maximizing the potential for press releases to influence news coverage. Make sure students include #NewsValue #NewsEngagementDay to be part of the larger conversation!

Idea from: Matthew S. VanDyke, Appalachian State University

This assignment was adapted from Flowers, A. A. (2016). Global writing for public relations: Connecting in English with stakeholders and public worldwide. New York: Routledge.

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