News Release Vs. Press Release

A few days ago, I mused publicly on Twitter that the term “press release” was outdated and that “Anyone (especially PR people) who uses the term “press release” needs to update their vocabulary.”

This isn’t a new topic – as people pointed out during the ensuing discussion  it’s been around for a while, yet I keep seeing the term “press release.”

What’s wrong with “press release?”

The term “press release” implies something that is no longer true:

Your materials are no longer only seen only by the press. Many releases are now posted online, either via newswire services or in company newsrooms, where they often rank highly in search results. That means customers, stakeholders and others are likely to see them.

Why is “news release” a better term?

The term has a broader focus, which accommodates the multiple audiences of your materials. It’s a good reminder that people outside the media will see your materials.

Equally importantly, the term “news release” reminds us and clients that we should only issue releases when you have news (although the occasional pithy pitch can work). Unfortunately, this is all too easily forgotten.

Who cares?

Why am I writing about this? Beyond those of us in the industry, who really cares?

I think the terms we use with clients are important. Saying “press release” reinforces the misconception that public relations is all about media coverage. The onus is on us in the industry to help others learn that we do much more than that.

It’s not about us – it’s about our audience. Sound familiar?

What do you think?

  • RGillett

    i tend to say media release, but yeah, you’re right … news release.

  • Amen, Dave!

    I can’t add to anything that you’ve not already said. (I will link see my name to a similar post where I talk about terms — including press release — that should be banned.)

    Maybe I will add one thing: As an acceptable alternative, if people want to get more broad than a “news release,” I’d say “media release” is okay.

  • I’m with you here. I conducted some research with SNCR (Society for New Communications Research) about the ROI of Online Press Releases (original title) and after I looked at the data about how releases are used, I never said “press” release again. This basic PR tool has changed a lot and I find that “news” release is a more appropriate term. I also like the emphasis on NEWS.

    So, if you need to make an argument that the decision to change from “press” to “news” release is research-based, the research is there… 🙂

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  • If SEO matters, the better term is “press release”

    The more accurate term, as you stated in your post, is “news release.”

    Because three times as many searchers type “press release” into Google, I’d opt to mirror their behavior rather than being being right but not having your content found as easily.

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  • Dave Thielen

    As somebody that has hundreds if not thousands of these cross my desk on a regular basis, I think “News” release is much less accurate. Better than 95% of the crap that crosses a news desk is self pat on the back garbage that has absolutely nothing to do with “News”. Calling it a “News” release doesn’t make it news.

    If you want a more “accurate” name, try – garbage, or if you want more politically correct – recycle, because that is where more than 95% of “news” releases end up because in reality they are nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to gain free promotion for whoever wrote it.

    Rather than worrying about what to call it, spend some time on making sure what is in it is relevant to somebody other than the person who signs the check.

  • @Dave Fleet – I wrote something similar about this when it comes to the naming conventions for Social Media Releases/Social Media Press Releases, and although I think I agree with what you are saying, but for different reasons. I mostly think that “press” is old fashioned, in that it refers to a printing press. As news papers slowly fade out and are replaced by their online counterparts, we’re seeing fewer uses of actual printing presses and should update our vocabulary accordingly.

    @Dave Armon – No body refers to their news release/press release as such on the actual release, so that doesn’t really matter for SEO purposes.

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  • I understand your point that releases are no longer targeted to “press” but “news” isn’t appropriate either by that reasoning. Not all releases have “news” as the online distribution you refer to can enhance a companies SEO through link backs.

    Like many words in our lexicon, the original use of the term may no longer apply to it’s actual meaning today. As such, I believe that using “press release” is fine as it represents a way people package information to bem, in most cases, distributed in some way – email, Twitter, online, etc.

  • I have been referring as news releases since reading ‘The New Rules of PR and Marketing’ by David Meerman Scott.


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  • I just wrote a release should I call a press release or news release?

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