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For CAS Faculty and Staff Communications Toolkit

Press Releases

When your department or program has news to announce—an event, student success, faculty recognition, grant award, or a new discovery—a press release is one tool for sharing your news.

The CAS communications group develops stories for internal communications (CAS Story Hub, e-newsletters, college website, calendar, etc.), and works with WSU News to distribute news releases externally.

If you have news to share, please contact your unit liaison to start the process. We’ll work with you to identify the appropriate communications channel.

Anatomy of a Press Release

Purpose

Provide a summary and a few interesting points about your news that are easily understood by the general public, and may entice a journalist to ask more questions and/or share the news.

In general, press releases that receive the broadest external attention include:

  • New or novel discoveries
    (first, most, only, latest, one of a few, etc.)
  • Research or scholarly work that sheds a new perspectives on a field of study or previously accepted hypotheses
  • Work that is timely or relates to current news stories or trends
    (e.g., healthcare, presidential elections, social justice)
  • Unusual or innovative creative work
  • Relevant to or coinciding with an anniversary or date of interest
    (e.g., Women’s History Month, Beethoven’s birthday, landing on the moon)
  • Significant external award or honor
    (e.g., elected fellowship, PECASE, Fulbright, national or international recognition)
  • Information in the public interest and/or a call to action
    (e.g., elder care, national security, energy, education, policy)
  • Significant new grant awards (usually over $500,000, but the potential impact is the most important factor)
  • And, occasionally, an intriguing human interest story

Headline

A concise statement that immediately conveys the main idea or impact of your news. Google recommends headlines between 2 and 22 words for optimum visibility and search results.

Introductory Paragraph

One to three sentences that briefly summarize the main idea or concept.

Quote

A short quote from a faculty member, researcher, student, or administrator brings a human element to the press release and is another way to provide details and information.

Main Text

The subsequent paragraphs fill in the details of your news. Provide details about the participants, who stands to benefit, who stands to lose, etc.

It is best to use an inverted pyramid structure for press releases: the most interesting or newsworthy information at the top followed by supporting points towards the end.

Call to Action

Provide a link that leads to more information, photos or video content, or consider including boilerplate information about the department or program.

Contact Information

Provide an office phone number and email address for the person named in the article. Confirm this person will be available on the day the press release is distributed.