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Editor’s press release of the month | Discovery of Australia’s oldest pottery rewrites understanding of Aboriginal maritime history

29 April, 2024

Press release of the month (6)-1

Every press release that flows through Medianet is seen by our in-house editorial team and on average, half of them are pitched to major newsrooms across Australia for their newsworthiness. What makes these press releases so successful? And what makes the difference between getting your story picked up or getting left behind? 

Of the close to 900 press releases that were eligible for pitching in April, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage created a media frenzy with the discovery of the oldest securely dated pottery on Australia’s Jiigurru (Lizard Island). 


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Headline/Opening Paragraph

Discovery of Australia’s oldest pottery rewrites understanding of Aboriginal maritime history

With a story that practically writes itself, the ARC kept their messaging clear and direct, sticking to the facts to pique journalists' interest with a compelling heading followed by two detailed images and an opening paragraph that succinctly states the vital information: Who, What, Where, When and Why. 


Content and Angle

Although it is slightly over our recommended best practice length of 300-500 words, the impactful content of the ARC’s finding (which challenges previous understandings of Aboriginal maritime history) touches on all 7 news values: impact, conflict, prominence, timeliness, relevance, proximity and the water-cooler factor of oddity. 


Multimedia assets

The use of two select images to capture the landscape and excavation process along with a Dropbox link for further images adds credibility and appeal to the release. 


PRO TIP - clear and direct active language

Keeping the message clear and direct by allowing the facts to speak for themselves without any extra flourishes always goes down well in the newsrooms. Using active language (verbs in a present tense) to convey a sense of immediacy makes the news more timely to newsrooms.

The best examples of active language can be found in the heading and the first sentence of this press release:

"In a paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews, Traditional Owners and researchers REPORT on the oldest securely dated pottery discovered in Australia", as opposed to “reported on” which would make it read as if the events had happened in the past. 


Level-up opportunity

In a major announcement press release, the best practice would be to start including quotes from the second paragraph, to give a human perspective and to back up what was stated in the first paragraph. Quotes don’t appear until the sixth paragraph of this release.

Medianet is the ultimate PR platform connecting you with media contacts and outlets to get your story told.

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