News Release Guidelines

How to Write a Strong News Release

A well-written news release can be an excellent tool for generating media interest in your Foundation-funded project. You will want to provide the media with thorough, accurate and clear copy. The following guidelines will help you in preparing a news release.

  1. Write a strong headline. Start with a strong, simple headline that emphasizes the grant’s purpose and that will pique a reader’s interest.
  2. Develop an enticing lead. The lead, or opening sentence of a news release, is very important. It is the attention getter or “hook” that draws in a journalist or reader. A good lead will answer the questions of who, what, when, where, why and how for your program or news item.
  3. Share the grant’s overall purpose clearly and precisely. Focus on how your project will improve the lives of people; relate the project to people, not institutions.
  4. Name funding source(s). Give the source(s) of funding for the project, the dollar amount of the grant(s), and the period or duration of funding. Please do not use the word “sponsor (sponsored)” in reference to grant support. Rather, the words funder (funded) or supporter (supported) are preferred.
  5. Project details. Successive paragraphs would include a non-technical summation of why this project is important, what differentiates it from other efforts to solve similar problems, how the project will be conducted, and who it is specifically designed to serve. Provide more detail on the objectives given in the lead paragraph. If appropriate, succinctly say why your institution is uniquely qualified or equipped to deal with the identified issue or problem.
  6. Feature key spokespersons. Your draft could include brief, direct quotes from key spokespersons if such quotes offer additional newsworthy information.
  7. Use the foundation’s full name, the Samuel N. & Mary Castle Foundation. The news release should state something like the following: “The Samuel N. & Mary Castle Foundation, founded in 1894, is one of America’s oldest foundations. The Foundation purpose is to support equal opportunity for young children to thrive in school. The Foundation concentrates its efforts in places where there are barriers to educational success.”

The above guidelines provided originally by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Communications Department.