Media Release: “A Small Window with Widespread View”


By Maryam N.

It was the year 1980, when the longest conventional war in 20th century started between Iran and Iraq to last for 8 years which caused extensive ruin and significant death. I was too young to feel the depth of disaster at the first phase of war, just could feel that those explosions are the reason for my family to have frequent journeys to the suburbs. The peak of the war was the last three years when the first devastating missile by Iraq astonished all the citizens in Tehran. That time I was at the bench of high school and my mind suddenly was overwhelmed by a thousand of questions: “Oh no! Where was the point of attack? Where’s mom?! Where’s dad?! How many people died? What if it was the house of a family or friend?” No mobile phone, No internet, and I had to take a long breath, running all the way and finally exhale when I could see all I wished at that moment: my mom’s arms, and our home clean and neat, protecting my family…

Rumor and panic was all around at least for few hours after each attack till the press release offices provide the details, mostly on radio and TV. Taking a look back to the past two decades, I can deeply touch and feel the huge evolution in media release. I can assume that how much it could reduce public stress at that time and facilitate crisis management, needless to mention that war and natural disasters are always distressing.

A short glance to the recent shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa shows that media release has a significant effect on the events by raising comments and reactions. Social media is really a paradigm shift or change in world view rather than simply a new set of tactics. Traditional media relied heavily on a one-to-many paradigm and a message would be transmitted to the masses through broadcast, print, radio, or signage. Traditional media is a one-way communication system that does not create engagement or work toward promoting word of mouth — the hallmarks of social media

We could hardly find the information we were looking for in those traditional releases, unless we read them thoroughly and carefully. The recent structure in media release enables the reader to scan and hunt the keywords and find the required information and therefore makes it an effective tool for both public communication and marketing. We need to answer the following questions about our news:

  •  Who?Who are the key players — your company, anyone else involved with the product? Who does your news affect/who does it benefit?
  • What? What is new?
  • Why?Why is this important news — what does it provide that is different?
  • Where?Where is this happening/is there a geographical angle/is the location of business relevant?
  • When?What is the timing of this? Does this add significance?
  • How?How did this come about?

4 thoughts on “Media Release: “A Small Window with Widespread View”

  1. Annabelle Olivier

    Maryam, thank you for sharing a bit of your own story. I’m finding it fascinating how everyone has chosen to tackle this particular assignment. So many different points of view.


  2. Maryam, your story is compelling and thought-provoking. It seems as if the press release in Iran during the war was used by the government as a kind of one-way public service announcement. The crisis in Ottawa is an interesting comparison. Ironically, the traditional journalists there were tweeting their updates! (Julie)


  3. Sharing your story is a riveting example of how storytelling can help communicate the “why” better than any other technique. You personified “Why” it is so critical to communicate in a press release and not just advance propaganda, or in less-serious circumstances, try to push your product. Thank you for sharing!


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