An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

International Cooperation

Public Participation Guide: Press and Media

Project information is presented to various media outlets for broad dissemination. In general, news or media releases are used to disseminate information. Media releases aim to get the widest possible coverage for a community issue or proposal through the publication or broadcasting of the information in the release. They may also attempt to elicit further enquiries by the media organization about the issue. In addition to producing media releases, building constructive relationships with key members of the media can be a very important component of getting the fair and frequent coverage that you desire.


  • Disseminate information quickly to a very large number of people
  • Raises publicity and awareness
  • Helps a sponsor or community group make contact with the media
  • Alerts media outlets to an issue/event and may encourage their active participation through civic journalism

Challenges to Consider

  • Your news not result in any reports if not deemed newsworthy or if more exciting news events take priority
  • Your information may be re-written by the news organization and key facts and emphasis changed
  • Media organizations may become interested in an aspect of the project or issue that is not the intended focus or main issue of public concern
  • Media organizations may seek out controversy and in so doing represent disagreements as more significant than they really are, and give minority voices in the community a larger voice than their overall role in the community warrants
  • Media releases are competing with thousands of other incoming news items and have a better chance of being used if they are sent directly to a journalist who has had previous friendly contact with the sender
  • The size of media releases limits the amount of detailed content that can be incorporated

Principles for Successful Planning

  • Determine the main news angle you wish to communicate
  • Write in a journalistic style to ensure maximum impact
  • Check deadlines for local publications/television/radio bulletins to ensure the media release is received in time to be published before the event
  • When announcing events, send releases with plenty of lead time
  • Keep the focus appropriate to the media outlet, local for local papers, regional, national, etc.
  • First paragraph of the release should be limited to 25 words or fewer telling briefly who, what, where, when and why about the event, issue, or project
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs throughout
  • Use active language/active voice
  • Avoid jargon and difficult words (keep it simple)
  • If using quotes in the body of the release, quote credible spokespeople and identify them with their positions
  • Keep information clear and unambiguous
  • Keep releases short, no longer than one page; if the media want more information, they will contact you
  • Match the release to the required size and format of the outlet
  • Include relevant dates, a contact name, and phone number for someone who is easily contacted during office hours
  • If offering interviews, make it clear whether this is an exclusive for one media outlet (could be one print, one radio and one television, as these do not see one another as competing)
  • Do not plan a general media conference unless you are sure that your project is relevant enough to get good attendance
  • Track coverage to see how and when your information is published
  • Be sure to write and thank the journalist to develop a relationship that may encourage her/him to work with you in tracking progress on the issue/project, and hence keep the community informed

Resources Needed

  • Writers and editors
  • Public affairs staff
  • Fax machines and email

Planning Time

  • Releases should be carefully prepared
  • Be sure to consider all internal review times

Implementation Time

  • Know the production deadlines for all news outlets and time your releases accordingly

Group Size

  • Unlimited


  • Very low cost.

Most relevant participation levels:

  • Media releases are used at all levels on the IAP2 spectrum.

Explore the full Public Participation Guide.


For additional information on EPA's Public Participation Guide, contact:
Shereen Kandil
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2650R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460