Using the News Release Templates
Are you looking for media coverage at your upcoming special event? Would you like a local newspaper to announce a recent research grant, honor or job promotion?
If the answer is "yes," then you've come to the right place. The U-M Health System Department of Public Relations and Marketing Communications has created four templates for your use. The templates, listed to the left, are meant to be used as guides to help you write your own news release when you have important information you want to share with the community. After you've written your release, send it to us. We'll take one last look and pass your news release along to the appropriate media.
How to get your event listed in newspaper and online event calendars
If you're hosting an event and don't want to put together a whole press release, you can easily submit information to newspaper event calendars and online event calendars. Just follow the links and instructions in this document, paying close attention to the deadlines for each calendar.
- Why do you need to review my news release before it is sent to the media?
- How far in advance should I send you my news release?
- How do I send my news release to you so you can review it and send it to the media?
- How do I use the templates?
- Where will my news be sent, and how much coverage will it receive?
- What makes a good headline?
- What kind of quote should I use in my release?
- Will I get to see my news release again after I have sent it to you?
- Can I use these templates to submit news to internal publications?
- Who do I contact if I have questions about how to use the templates or write my news release?
Why do you need to review my news release before it is sent to the media?
The UMHS public relations team is composed of experienced writers that know how to communicate with the media in a way that will get the best possible result for you.
In addition, most writers end up so familiar with their own work that they fail to catch typos and other small errors. That's where we come in: An objective set of eyes will read your news release one last time to check that everything is in order before it is sent to the media. Having someone else read your work is also a good way to make sure you've included all the information the media will need to report your news accurately to the community.
How far in advance should I send you my news release?
Most newspaper event calendars have a submission deadline a minimum of two weeks before the actual event. The deadline for monthly publications like the Ann Arbor Observer and the Current is the 10th of the month before the month in which the event will take place. Because of deadlines like these, your completed news release must be in our hands at least three weeks before you would like it sent to the media.
How do I send my news release to you so you can review it and send it to the media?
You can e-mail your release to Kara Gavin (kegavin@med. umich.edu), or you can fax it to her attention at 734-615-2169.
If you need further help, please call the Public Relations and Marketing Communications office at 734-764-2220.
How do I use the templates?
Once you have decided which template you will use for your news, click on the appropriate link on the left side of this page. This will take you to the template. From here, you have two options.
First, you may choose to simply print a copy of the template. By doing so, you can follow along on a paper copy as you type the required information in your word processing program, like Microsoft Word.
The other option is to copy the text from the web into a blank document. To do so, first highlight the body text of the template. Next, copy the text by selecting "Copy," located under the "Edit" tab in your toolbar. Once you have copied the text, open a new document in your word processing program. Now go under the "Edit" tab in this program and select "Paste." The highlighted text from the web page will now appear in your document and you will be free to make changes. Simply type in the required information, making sure to delete the "<<>>" symbols and prompt questions. Don't forget to save your completed document, then send it by e-mail to Kara Gavin (kegavin@med. umich.edu).
Where will my news release be sent, and how much coverage will it receive?
Once we review your release, we will determine which media outlets should receive it and take care of sending it to them. In most cases, this will mean that your release will be sent to the local media, such as the Ann Arbor News, the University Record and a few other media outlets.
Please realize that the Department of Public Relations and Marketing Communications has no control over whether the media will use your news release. However, a well-written, timely and newsworthy release is much more likely to be picked up than one that was hastily thrown together and has little news value.
Also keep in mind that these templates are designed for news that, in most cases, will not be the top stories on the evening news or on the front page of the morning newspaper. More likely, you should expect that your news item will appear as a brief article. This does not mean that your news is not important; it only reflects the vast number of similar announcements the media get from various groups. Be assured, however, that these "briefs" are frequently among the most-read items in the newspaper.
What makes a good headline?
A good headline is one that is short yet able to grab your reader's interest and attention. Headlines should indicate some action through the use of a verb and should therefore convey a complete thought. For example, a poorly written headline might be "New Director." A better headline would be "John Doe Appointed New Director of X Department."
What kind of quote should I use in my news release?
A good quote offers additional information that is not already found in the release. Often, quotes give a personal, human touch, as in the case of a manager praising his or her employee receiving an award or other special recognition.
If you directly quote an individual in your release, make sure to get the approval of the person being quoted before sending your release to us. This means making sure the person knows he or she is being quoted and that he or she approves of the exact words you use in the release.
Will I get to see my news release again after I have sent it to you?
The idea behind these templates is that you use them to construct your own news release and that you send it to us only when you feel it is complete, correct and ready to be passed on to the media. Our job is to review the release and ensure there are no grammar, spelling or punctuation errors and that all the information needed by the media is present. Once we have done so, we will send you a copy of the release that is sent to the media.
Can I use these templates to submit news to internal publications?
No. These templates are to be used for the news you want the media to know about. Please continue to use the standard submission practices already in place for all internal publications like Inside View, Bulletin, E-News and the University Record.
Who do I contact if I have questions about how to use the templates or write my news release?
You can e-mail Kara Gavin (kegavin@med. umich.edu) or call 734-764-2220 with any questions or concerns.