Often you need to write a media release to go with an announcement of a new program or initiative you have been working on.

The purpose of the media release is to get the media to pay attention and so put your information in the papers (usually) so the community will come to your event or use your new service. Anything for TV will probably be handled further up the food chain from you.

Newspaper, radio and TV stations get hundreds of these media releases every day, so you need to write them in the acceptable way or they won’t even get a look in.

Step 1 Relax. It’s just another one page document with its own format. You don’t need a media degree to write one.

Step 2 Have a look at all the other media releases on your agency’s website. There are usually a lot.

Step 3 Find a similar agency in NSW or interstate and look at their media releases too, especially if your agency doesn’t have many press releases.

Step 4 Try to see the formula. If you read a few it will not take you long to work out the formula that all these writers are using.

Step 5 Copy the format, the tone, the length, the use of quotations, the beginning and the end.

Step 6 Apply the formula to your program as best you can.

Step 7 Make your info interesting. The media do not see its role as a conduit for your agency’s information. They exist to sell people stuff that’s new or interesting.

Step 8 Edit thoroughly. If it’s full of typos and grammatical errors it will just be too much work to bother with.

All this will not guarantee that your media release will be excellent or that it will be the version that will go out. What it will do is
• get it off your desk
• save you anxiety
• give your colleagues in the media unit a head start.

You may not be writing a great media release, but you will have written something that you can send up, if you follow these steps.

You can do that!

Dennise Harris

How much is MOST?

Adam, a Stylus reader, sent me to an article in Science Daily on a piece of research about the word most.

A linguist in Israel wanted to quantify just how much was most in people’s minds?



I always think of it as a bit less than almost all.

What do you think?

What the study found

Professor Mira Ariel of the University of Tel Aviv, trawling through the literature, found that most (boom boom) language academics thought that most meant pretty well much the same as more than half, that is, anywhere between 51% and 100%.

Well, they were wrong.

The people in the study (who were English speakers from all over the world) had to quantify most (cookies in a jar; people in a room; witnesses to an accident).

It turns out not to be 51-100% but the much narrower band – 80-95% (a bit less than almost all!).

So now you know – most is a lot more precise than many people would have predicted!

You can find the full article at: Tel Aviv University (2009, November 19). Finding more in ‘most’. Retrieved November 22, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091119121302.htm

At least you are not e-bandoned!

We are used to
• email
• e-shopping
• e-dating

where the e stands for electronic (usually meaning over the internet).

Here are some new e-words I thought you’d be interested in:

e-pharmacy (easy)
e-petition (ditto)
e-forensics (this is the study of internet communications to defeat crime!)
e-fridge (this is a fridge that will order things over the internet as they run out! I think I want one.)

My number one favourite is: e-bandoned. This appeared in October 2007 to describe people with no access to the internet because of poverty or because they feel they just cannot cope with the complexity.

What’s your favourite or least favourite e word?

As the crow flies

This is a rough unit of distance.

It means – in a straight line.

So you might say “from here to Jamberoo is only about 8 kms as the crow flies but it’s about 45kms by road”.

Why a crow?
Why not? Any bird would have done but someone just chose a crow.

The Online Etymological Dictionary gives the first appearance of this expression as 1800 in Pennysylvania.