Send Me Your Press Releases…Now!

I don’t know how wide spread this experience is, but there is one area where I assumed that technology was making a window of interest smaller that I think it is actually expanding it– Press Releases.

One of the cardinal rules of writing press releases has always been to keep the subject matter timely. This often means releasing your information within a certain window where it is not so early that news people have more immediate events to cover and not so late that you miss the deadline.

As Internet connections got better and sending images and releases by email rather than hard copies through regular mail became more prevalent, there was a brief period where sending out information closer to a performance night seemed wiser and preferred.

Now I am getting calls from newspapers 4-6 weeks before a performance asking me for a release and images. It is a minority that seems to prefer the information two weeks or so out from the performance. My theory is that technology has made it easier for news outlets to organized stories. I am guessing I get the calls because they have inputted the calendar listings I send out in the Fall into some sort of software that reminds them to call me for information. I also guess technology is helping them put their story together and lay out part of the issue it will run in weeks ahead of time.

In a certain respect, my job has actually gotten harder because I need to be thinking about these shows weeks early than I used to so I have a release ready for the asking. I also need to be bugging the performance groups for information to support what I write and images to send to the press. With some artists and agents who are not well organized, this can create a problem.

There is a standard line in most every contract I get that says press materials will be provided to me a month before a performance. I have begun toying with the idea of researching the amount of information available about an artist online and changing that to 60 days for those with a dearth of materials.

Has anyone else had this experience or am I just surrounded by a well organized, zealous media?

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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