[P]ress releases are unreal and possibly pointless. First, you write the press release from other already-written things. You can even fudge quotes, which is a big no-no in journalism. Then you have to get everything approved by absolutely everybody. I’m not big on getting stuff “approved.” I think it’s weird that you have to do this when what you wrote the release from was “approved” to begin with. Very odd. Anyway, you put six or so hours into this article, and then you send it out to news organizations. They can decide to use your article for a story idea, not use your article at all, or they can hack it up into bits and make it a “news brief.”
I often see students trying to cite university or corporate press releases in their research papers, instead of peer-reviewed academic articles. Julie’s blog essay is a reminder that a press release is a persuasive document designed to cast the best possible light on the issuing organization.
And the made-up quotes in press releases are almost always laughable — no good journalist wants to put long paragraphs of administrative mumbo-jumbo into an article.