How to write a press release A press release is a short summary of an event or opinion that is sent to the media. It is the standard way of informing a large number of people about something that needs to be publicized. Amnesty International regularly creates press releases to highlight the release of reports or express opinions about a situation. Your group can use press releases to publicize events or actions that your group undertakes in your community. Before you get started, here are a few simple guidelines to follow: 1. Start with a bang! Give all the most important information in the first paragraph. Get everyone interested enough in your event to read the rest of the news release. 2. Be simple and concise. Don't use fancy wording or long sentences. Get your point across quickly and clearly. Don't use exclamation points and try to write in the third person. 3. Be picky. Type your press release and double space it. Check carefully for accuracy - double check names, dates, times, addresses and telephone numbers. 4. Give opinions a voice. Use quotes instead of just making statements. For example, instead of saying "This event is a lot of fun", say "Jane Smith, who has attended the last 4 years says 'This event is so much fun! My kids just love it!'." (Naturally, make sure the quote is real.) And before you send out your release, check that all the information is there! WHO ... Tell which organizations are involved. When quoting people, give their full name and position. WHAT ... Be sure to say exactly what's going on - what exact activities are taking place? WHEN ... Give the full date and time and don't forget to specify if it's a.m. or p.m.! WHERE ... Give the exact location of your event - you may also wish to include directions or information such as where to park. WHY ... Why is this worth reading about? Why is the event happening? Why is the event so special that people will want to attend? WHO CARES ... Explain what impact this event has on your community. CONTACT ... Include a contact name and telephone number - and double check to make sure it's right! SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE: Amnesty International Main Street Secondary Group # 52 1234 Main Street | Anywhere, BC | A1A 1A1 email@example.com | tel: (613) 555-1234 Main Street Amnesty International Group Hosts Annual ArtsJam For Human Rights Anywhere, BC - 23 May, 2003 - Anywhere's Main Street Secondary School Amnesty International Group is teaming up with local artists to defend human rights. The group is presenting its Second Annual ArtsJam For Human Rights on Saturday May 2, 2005 at the Main Street Community Centre. The event will run from 9am-5pm and feature over twenty local visual artists, dancers, singers and poets. "ArtsJam has been a great way for me to get involved in human rights issues" said local artist Jane Doe. "We all support the great work that these students are doing - and they've really put a lot of work in to make sure the day will go smoothly." The First Annual ArtsJam was held last year at Main Street School and attracted over 250 spectators. The event also raised over $1000, which was contributed to the international human rights movement. "We think it's very important to make the connections between our local community and other communities around the world" said Group 52 President John Smith. "The freedom that our local artists have to express their views is not shared by artists around the world. It's very important to remind of how essential human rights are to the enjoyment of everyday life." ArtsJam is a free event, open to families and people of all ages. For more information contact John Smith at (613) 555-1234. Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights. It has over 1.5 million members in over 150 countries and territories around the world. Amnesty International is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. It is concerned solely with the partial protection of human rights.