How to distribute a press release
This page explains how Wikimedia's press releases are written and sent out.
Each global Wikimedia press release starts with an international version in English which is later translated and adapted to other languages. Start well in advance of the event which should be announced and create a page for the press release here on meta-wiki à la "Wikimedia press releases/Important event". Add a big red note with the planned release date and a "Not ready for release" note.
Distributing the press release
Some projects keep a list of addresses and send out press releases centrally. If several people are distributing the press release, use the Press release logbook to keep track of the distribution.
- Despite a recent computer malfunction, I believe I have an Excel chart of all of our previous PR recipients, organized in columns like their name, e-mail, location, format (newspaper, TV, radio, web). I'll upload this in a bit. -- user:zanimum
Each press release has its own log of outlets contacted (ideally updated with the result of the contact). For a meta-list of all press releases, see Wikimedia press releases.
For the current log (as of 9/2004), see Wikimedia press releases/One million Wikipedia articles/New outlets, or rather, Press release logbook
It is advised, but not required, that you temporarily change your "From:" name to "Wikimedia PR", to look more official than a random name. The subject of the e-mail should be simple and to the point, something like "PR: Wikipedia publishes [N] articles in [K] languages".
No cover letter is needed. A very basic cover letter is acceptable if your local paper wants a fax, for some reason.
Make sure you fully record which press outlets you are contacting in the logbook (see above), just before you send them the release. This helps prevent two different people from contacting the same outlet.
# Newspaper name, City of publication (if known), State/Province/Region (if relevant), Country, email@example.com (or "through form", if that's the case) : [[User:name]] date
Only a basic cover letter is needed.
Who should I be contacting at my [local paper]?
How do I know if I've reached the right person?
Will I get any feedback?
I really don't need a cover letter? I'm writing to firstname.lastname@example.org!
But will they take it seriously?
Yes, most companies hire firms to send their PR out. -- user:zanimum