Business Wire PR Peeps Poll: News Release or Press Release?

News release or press release?  Results are in for this month’s Business Wire PR Peeps Poll:  56% of 370 polled preferred “press release” while 44% chose “news release.”

Discussion has surfaced lately regarding the preferred usage of these two seemingly interchangeable phrases.  “Press” release has history on its side, with its tenure as one of the most basic public relations tools on the planet–not to mention being written into the constitution as freedom of the “press.”    Also, don’t forget that the press release celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006, with nostalgic tributes to Ivy Lee, PT Barnum and others.

As for “news release,” an implied superiority abounds for its usage–as if “the press” in the age of user generated content is an institution to be dismissed.


Funny that we at Business Wire for years adamantly touted ourselves as a “news release wire service” but when we started to do search engine marketing noted that “press release” is searched ten times more frequently, on average, than the the phrase “news release.”  Now we are as likely to use press release as news release in marketing, presentations and elsewhere.

Old habits die hard, I suppose. Even those who propose to “reinvent” the already interactive press release of today as the “social media press release” seem to prefer “press” to “news.”  Would love to hear what psychologists, linguists and behavioral marketers think about what all this means.

Here’s the details from our 370 respondents, culled from Twitter and our weekly webinar polls.

Business Wire PR Peeps Poll for June 2009: News Release or Press Release, which do you choose?

  • 163 preferred news release-44.05%
  • 207 preferred press release-55.95%

To those who participated, thanks for taking the poll.  How about helping with the Business Wire PR Peeps July poll? Advertising Equivalencies — do you or have you used them to justify PR efforts?

370 respondents via Twitter and Business Wire webinar polls.  Poll conducted  June 1 – 30, 2009.

4 Responses to Business Wire PR Peeps Poll: News Release or Press Release?

  1. I prefer “news release,” especially in light of the changing way that news is distributed. Distributing news is less reliant on the press. Instead, it’s increasingly become a direct-to-consumer affair.

  2. Dennis L. Wilcox says:

    Although the term has history on its side, the term “press release” doesn’t seem to fit today’s media environment. The term “press” has historically been associated with newspapers and even broadcast news, but today’s “news releases” are now distributed to a variety of media platforms (bloggers, social networks, etc.) and even to the public via Business Wire or online newsrooms. And these media are not generally considered the “press.” So I think the term “news release is more appropriate and, in many ways, less restrictive. It would be interesting to know the age distribution of those who prefer “press” vs. “news.” Perhaps there is a generational gap — the oldsters like “press release” while the younger, perhaps more hip, practitioners prefer the term “news release.”

  3. Interesting,Brian and Dennis. Dennis, I thought the same thing, that maybe it was generational. The Twitter poll respondents voted 89- 59 for news release, and the webinar respondents voted 149 – 73 for press release, so if you assume that Twitter users are “hipper” than others, you may be on to something. Hard to say for sure. Thanks for the thoughtful comments, gentlemen.

  4. Kathleen Gee says:

    Why does it matter what PR people think? (I’m saying that, and I’m one of ’em!) What matters is what journalists and editors think, and what our clients think, and what potential clients think. If a would-be client is online searching for an “SEO press release writer,” instead of an “SEO news release writer,” who am I to argue? With so much of public relations happening online nowadays, press release search engine optimization trumps our own personal preferences as PR professionals.

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