Six press release pet peeves

Before this begins, I want to say this is not intended to “bash” public relations, but rather to express frustrations from the journalist’s perspective. I’d be open to discussion on what those in public relations feel are frustrating about journalists/journalism in the comment section!

1. Unnecessarily capitalizing “City,” “District,” “University,” etc.

I understand there are certain styles that have to be followed by whatever organization sends press releases to media organizations, but I feel it should be recognized that nowhere but in the place the release originated from are general nouns capitalized to make them seem more important.

2. Lack of AP style 

Having taken quite a few public relations classes in college (because it was my minor), I know that AP Style is taught. But what I don’t understand is why it’s not enforced. Yes, it was part of the grading criteria on written assignments. Yes, we had AP Style quizzes. But nobody came out and said, “These are the main AP Style quirks that you’ll come across.” In fact, I can’t recall a single lecture on AP Style. It was almost as if it was expected that you know it, without being taught it just because you purchased the book itself. So, if you’re a public relations major, definitely take at least one news writing class.

3. Lack of inverted pyramid

Again, I know this is at least touched on in PR classes. What I don’t understand is why it’s not emphasized. A simple Google search can give you the basics and, most likely, some examples of how to get information into inverted pyramid.

4. Spelling errors

Yes, I know this happens in journalism too. More often than I care to admit, actually. There’s never anything wrong with running spellcheck for the 10th or 11th time or having someone else proof the copy before an email blast is sent out with simple spelling  mistakes.

5. Factual errors

Again, another one that happens in journalism because of lack of attention to detail. There’s an easy fix. Just double and triple check the facts, specifically time, date and place, if it’s about an event, and you’ll be good to go.

6. Unnecessarily bolding “important” words

There’s really nothing wrong with this. It just seems irrelevant. The editor or reporter who receives the release should have enough of a news sense to determine what the important parts of the press release are. It’s not something that needs to be pointed out.


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