A news release, media release, press release or press statement is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value. Typically, it is mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, and/or television networks. Commercial press-release distribution services are also used to distribute news releases. Sometimes news releases are sent for the purpose of announcing news conferences.
A press release is different from a news article. A news article is a compilation of facts developed by journalists published in the news media, whereas a press release is designed to be sent to journalists in order to encourage them to develop articles on the subject. A press release is generally biased towards the objectives of the author.
The use of news releases is common in the field of public relations, the aim of which is to attract favorable media attention to the PR firm's client, and publicity, the aim of which is to attract favorable media attention for products marketed by the clients.
TV news viewers can often detect the use of VNRs within television newscasts; for example, many movie-star "interviews" are actually VNRs, taped on a set which is located at the movie studio and decorated with the movie's logo. Another frequent example of VNRs masquerading as news footage is videotapes of particular medical "breakthroughs," that are really produced and distributed by pharmaceutical companies for the purpose of selling new medicines.
Video News Releases can be in the form of full blown productions costing tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands. They can also be in the TV news format, or even produced for the web.
Recently, many broadcast news outlets have discouraged the use of VNRs. Many stations, citing an already poor public perception, want to increase their credibility. Public relations companies are having a tougher time getting their pre-edited video aired.
VNRs can be turned into podcasts then posted onto newswires. Further to this, a story can be kept running longer by engaging "community websites", which are monitored and commented on by many journalists and features writers.
However, it is very hard to enforce embargoes on journalists, as there is constant pressure by editors to be first to a story. It is unlikely that a PR agency will blacklist a form of media, as other clients may want to be featured in this publication. This problem is sometimes overcome by controlling the timing of a release via email rather than relying on the journalist to do so.
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