Writing a press release without tacky self-promotion

S Johnson

S Johnson

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Registration : 9 March 2020
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I recently graduated from a university and was selected to participate in an exciting team event that likely would interest the public. One member from my time suggested that I either: (1) Write "press releases" to journalists, or (2) Contact the Public Affairs department in the institution I recently graduated from and see if they can assist me with reaching the media through their networks. I am excited about the prospect of generating public interest in our team event and am aware that the research we are doing could reflect positively for my old institution.

I may be incorrect, but it seems that "press releases" tend to written by the main subject (in the third person tense). As silly as it sounds, I am having a hard time writing this piece because I worry that, should these "press releases" be published, an unintended consequence could be undertones of tacky self-promotion. I worry that it would clear such a "press release" was written by myself, and this changes my language to be much more soft and modest and ambitious.

There is a lot that remains unclear to me about this process, even after watching many tutorials. What I am curious about is:

1) Do journalists usually make it clear that the "press release" was primarily written by the main subject? Would it even be stated "This article was based on a press release from [me]", making it clear that wrote it?

2) Are there methods to ensure any possible pieces written up do not appear as aggressively self-promoting? Particularly, leaving some ambiguity of by whom the article was written (and/or not making it clear it was originally written by [me]?)

3) If press releases have a connotation of being self-promotion (main subjects contacted sources with a template), are there other methods for reaching media about exciting research from a recent alumni?

I would be grateful to hear any advice from others who went through this process. As someone so focused on my research for years in an ivory tower, I am excited to get involved with sharing my research with the public (but also hesitant that I will regret these issues if I do not fully understand the process and/or my options).

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