There are lots of debate online discussing about the difference between a press release and news release.  Some claim that they are the same and can be used interchangeably.  Others, on the other hand, recommend crashing the press release term out of the equation and just use news release.

Press Release vs. News Release

Nowadays, the term “press release” is often interchangeably used with news release, media release, and social media release.  But, the most often debated topic is about which term is more appropriate to use.

As the term “press release” usually refers to a written or recorded communication distributed to the press, some digital marketers opted not to use it because online press release distribution encompasses all kinds of media.  The era of online communication puts an end of the old tradition wherein the press always has the upper hand in releasing your story to the public.

According to Greg Elwell in his article “What’s the Difference Between a Press Release and a News Release?” the difference between press release and news release is a matter of perception and what you do to publish and promote your news.  For him, the term “news release” has him thinking of modern marketing methods of using the internet, while “press release” is an older term used to refer to the practice of sending or releasing news to the press.

Elwell’s opinion is backed-up by Dave Fleet on his article “NEWS RELEASE VS. PRESS RELEASE”.  Fleet believes that the term “press release” implies something that is no longer true.  For him written and recorded materials announcing the latest story about your company is no longer seen only by the press.   He said that many releases are now posted online and can be seen by all types of audience.

But, Fleet’s stand is strongly contradicted by his article commenter.  The commenter emphasized the appropriate usage of the term “news”.

“I understand your point that releases are no longer targeted to “press” but “news” isn’t appropriate either by that reasoning. Not all releases have “news” as the online distribution you refer to can enhance a company’s SEO through link backs. Like many words in our lexicon, the original use of the term may no longer apply to its actual meaning today. As such, I believe that using “press release” is fine as it represents the way people package information to bem, in most cases, distributed in some way – email, Twitter, online, etc.”

So what’s really the Appropriate Term to Use?

For many, the terms “press release” and “news release” denote the same meaning, the question now is which of the term is really more appropriate to use?  A good suggestion from Maggie W. of a LinkedIn Poll “What’s the difference between a “news release” and a “press release”?” is enlightening.

“Ok let me stir the pot by adding ‘Media Release’.

With all the channels available to us these days, the people we’re trying to reach are obviously more than just the press, and the information contained, while informative and interesting might not be classed as news by everyone – it can be a subjective term. So, Media Release is serving as the best catch-all so far.”

How about you?  Which term do you think is more appropriate to use?


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