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a. The term “Press Release” refers to news released to the public through media in the form of press conferences written in a journalistic style.

b. It should provide facts or information of interest to the readers and should cover all aspects of a specific subject.

c. It should be on a subject which is recent or in news. It should be concise, unambiguous and to the point.

d. It contains worthwhile material which has some news value made available to the public.

e. It is not only unnecessary expenditure but also damages the reputation of the concerned publicity/information department if the release is on a very trivial matter.

f. The introduction or lead should be in a summary or in a caption format as it is a news story.

g. The releases should have a consistent format. Generally, the name of the organization from where the release emanates is given on the top.

h. The date and place are indicted on the top right side. The release should have a title and sub-title also, if necessary.

i. It should have a suitable introductory paragraph. In the case of releases from non-official organization, it is desirable also to mention the designation of the person issuing the release and his telephone number.

The press releases covering news in the case of the government are mainly of four types-

1. Press Notes.

2. Hand Outs.

3. Press Communiqués.

4. Unofficial Stories and Unofficial hand-outs.

Press Notes:

a. Press notes are reasonably informal in character.

b. They are issued on important matters, e.g., raising or lowering of tariff rates, etc.

c. The press note carries the name of the ministry/department and the place and date at the bottom left-hand corner. Heading or sub-heading is giver in press notes.

Hand Outs:

a. The second category is hand-outs. They are used on variety of subjects and on day to day activities of the ministry/department, VIP speeches, questions and answers in parliament, etc.

b. The hand-out is also less formal type of release and not issued under the government’s formal authority.

c. It bears the name of the releasing agency on the top without any mention of the ministry/department to which the release pertains.

d. The place and date are indicated on top at right-hand side.

e. One of the most important common categories of handouts relate to the speeches of ministers or other high officials.

f. The speech when released to the press in the form of handout is summarized and properly edited.

g. Formal introduction and concluding remarks are omitted and redundant and repetitive material taken out. A proper title and sub-title are given.

h. The important aspects which are to be stressed are included in the beginning paragraph or in the lead. The full text of the speech is not released unless the subject is of very great importance.

Press Communiques:

a. The third type is press communiqués and they are issued when some important government decisions or announcements are made such as cabinet appointments, conclusion of the foreign dignitaries’ visits, international agreement, etc.

b. The press communiqué is formal in character. It carries the name of the ministry or department, the place and the date at the bottom left-hand corner of the release.

c. Generally, the press is expected to reproduce the press communiqué without any substantial change. No heading or subheading is given on press communiqués.

Unofficial Hand Outs:

a. Lastly, unofficial hand outs is issued on a subject where the government would not like to assume official responsibility in the matter but feels that there may be positive advantages in making information public unofficial.

b. These hand outs are supplements to oral briefings. They are given across the table to press correspondents and no general release is made.

c. The unofficial hand put do not have the imprint of the releasing agencies. The data and place are indicated at the bottom left-hand corner.

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