A Little Good Publicity
Goes A Long Way
With all of the tasks
a Boy Scout leader must undertake, one that most often is forgotten
is that of publicity. it's often the last thing - if at all -
thought about when planning events but sometimes it can be the
The general public
needs to understand the values, the benefits and the fine works
the Boy Scout movement, We depend on them for support, for fund-raising
and other assistance in our programs. And, of course, all of
us are the public as well, and it is important that good works
and achievements be recognized.
article is designed to instruct you on how to get the good news
your Scouts into the newspapers It's not particularly difficult
with a small amount of investment needed in terms of time. it
just takes your creativity and energy.
The following guidelines on placing news releases
have been developed to improve your success rate in writing and
Media to target include:
Newsletters and bulletins
Television, including cable television
The Making of a News
By definition a press
release is simply a statement prepared for distribution to the media.
The purpose of a press release is to give journalists information that
is useful, accurate and interesting.
The news release is
your primary tool. It is the main channel through which publicists
send out messages to the public via the media.
General Rules of Thumb for News Releases
· Always type a news release. Releases should be double-spaced with
1-inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.
· Brevity is the key. Try to limit releases to one or two pages.
A news release should not exceed 500 words. A straightforward and
concise writing style is the objective. Use short, clearly written
· Never split a paragraph at the end of a page.
Type “–MORE–” at the bottom of a page when
the release is more than one page in length.
· If a release is more than one page in length, put an abbreviated
headline and page number at the top of each page following page
Type “###” to signify the end of the release.
Clarity, accuracy, grammar, and neatness are vital. Verify all
names, addresses, and facts before distributing the release.
Avoid the use of clichés, jargon, or fancy phrases.
Don’t use flowing tributes, flowery descriptions, or glowing
adjectives when writing your news release. The news release should
be more informative than subjective. Be impartial and objective;
try to write the release as the reporter might.
Use first and last names on first reference. Use last names only
on subsequent references. Include titles and descriptions, such
as district chairman, or a person’s hometown or age. Provide
full names of groups with appropriate descriptions.
If an editor must choose between two otherwise equal releases,
he or she is more likely to pick the release that has an accompanying
photograph. If including a photograph with your release, make sure
it will capture the interest of the reader. Every photograph should
include a complete and correct caption that identifies each person
and the action in the photograph. Your photograph file should include
the following information on each photograph: source, date taken,
copyright information, and releases signed by people in the picture.
Put the local news angles at the beginning of a release if the
story covers an area beyond the community’s borders or newspaper’s
Include a good quote from Scouts, volunteers, or local distinguished
individuals early in the story.
Add boilerplate material. This is general information about the
Boy Scouts of America that help people understand the importance
and relevancy of Scouting. For example, “Scouting has had
more than 100 million members since its inception in 1910.”
Writing the Press Release
Your unit's name, web
address, location address and phone number should be printed clearly
at the top of the page. PRESS RELEASE should be spelled
out in all CAPS and centered in bold. The press release contact person's
name should be
underneath the wording and all contact numbers printed clearly underneath.
If the press release is for IMMEDIATE RELEASE, say
so, on the left margin directly above the title in all caps.
of the press release is the Headline or Title. It should be
centered, and in
press release should capture the journalist. The title of the
press release should be short and snappy, and hopefully grabbing the
attention of the journalist and impressing them enough to read
You are now ready for the useful, accurate and interesting BODY
of the press release. The body of the press release begins with
the date and city for which the press release is originated. The
body of the press release is very basic; who, what, where, when
and why. The first paragraph of the press release should contain
in brief detail what the press release is about. The second paragraph
explains,in detail: who cares; why you should care; where one can
find it; when it will happen. Also, included in the second 'informative'
paragraph is generally a quote that gives the release a personal
touch. Touchy-feelies go a long way with journalists. Press releases
and news stories are boring to journalists without a 'human interest'.
The third and generally final paragraph is a summation of the release
and further information on your company with the company contact
information clearly spelled out.
The content of the press release, beginning with the date and
city of origin, should be typed in a clear, basic font (Times New
Roman, Arial, etc.) and double-spaced. If your press release exceeds
one page, the second page should indicate ' Page Two' in the upper
right hand corner. Journalistic standards have set basic parameters
to define the end of a press release: ###. Three # symbols, centered
directly underneath the last line of the release indicate the end
of a press release.
The next time you are tasked with writing a press release for
your unit, have no fear, the basic rules are clear: useful,
accurate and interesting information portrayed within the set journalistic
Example of an Eagle Ceremony Press Release
Example of a Scouter Recognition Press Release
Examples of a Scouting Event Press Release
Examples of General Scouting Press Releases
Example of a Letter to the Editor
Working With The Press
Your interest, enthusiasm,
ingenuity, and skills will help you greatly in your job as public
relations representative. In addition, we would like to offer
you some pointers which will help you develop good press contacts.
MOST IMPORTANT Always
supply honest and accurate news materials.
Read your community
newspaper(s). Study them to find what kind of stories
and/or photographs they use. Think in terms of what the
newspapers want, not what you want them to use.
Learn as much as
you can about the media in your area - deadlines.
editorials, policies. editors. Keep an up-to-date file
on media contacts.
Know an editors working
schedule. Avoid calls or visits unless absolutely
necessary and especially during deadline hours. Your
contact will be
under a lot of pressure and will not be receptive to
Do prepare in advance. Allow
enough lead time when contacting a newspaper with your
story. Usually two weeks.
Find out how a newspaper
wants the information submitted, i.e., find out what
can be called in and when, what needs to be mailed in,
and what should be hand delivered.
an editor about when a story will run or why it did
not. You cannot make demands. A newspaper has to set
and it does have limitations. The Boy Scouts (you, in
this case) are competing for space with whatever the
news of the
day or week may be. There are plenty of other organizations
who are also seeking publicity space. Therefore, the
press releases you write must be good. In
asking "when will
it run?' you are questioning an editor's news judgement
and that does not help build a good press contact. However,
a newspaper repeatedly fails to run material you submit,
there is no harm in asking the editor for advice. Continue
to submit Boy Scout news keeping in mind the advice you
received from the editor.
Avoid asking for
press clippings or photographs.
If an error has been
made, let the newpaper know. Errors do occur and the
paper wants to correct any problems.
Remember to thank
people for good coverage. A short note of thanks
to publishers, editors, reporters and photographers
is always welcome.
Send only one release
to each publication. If for some reason you do
furnish duplicate releases, let the recipients know;
for example, write: "Note: Also
sent to (name)"
NOTE: Send copies of all releases/clips
to the Council and District marketing/public relations
to Generate Publicity (PDF)
a Learning for Life - Exploring Resource
of Local Media Organizations