Press Release Tips

Press releases, typically 600-800 word summaries written for a non-technical reader, are distributed to members of the media (and others) to highlight a newsworthy activity, event, or major institutional change.

To help determine whether a press release might be warranted, consider the following questions:

  • Does the research have major scientific implications or practical applications?  
  • Is there a news hook (i.e. something broad-based that a reporter might find intriguing)?
  • Is the research groundbreaking, original, and timely?
  • Is the research unusual or unexpected (e.g., how a Venus flytrap snaps or creating bubbles that maintain their shape for a year)?
  • Do you have engaging or beautiful accompanying photos, movies, etc.?
  • Is there a patent pending or collaboration with industry?
  • Is the award “major” (Nobel, NAE, etc.)?
  • If the work is being published in a journal, what is the embargo policy? Does the journal issue its own press releases or promote authors in other ways?
  • If the work is collaborative, have you discussed the possibility of a issuing a press release with your colleagues? (In such cases, it is wise to have the SEAS Communications Office coordinate efforts with other institutions and organizations.)