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Writing and distributing a news release is an easy way for your organization to participate in National Health IT Week. You can use the attached “Swiss cheese” release by filling in the blanks [in red type] to reflect your organization and your city/state.

You also may choose to draft your own NHIT Week release. One important note: be sure to include the name, email and phone number of a contact person from your organization at the top of the release (see the contact information in the Swiss cheese as an example).

If you choose to draft your own release, keep it to no more than two pages and include quotes from leaders in your organization. Your release should be written so that if a newspaper or website picked it up as is, it reads like a news story. That means the first paragraph, called the lead, contains information about who, what, where, why, and when of NHIT Week celebration, followed by supporting details and quotes from your organizations leaders.

After the release is drafted and approved, distribute it to journalists in your city, local region or state. (For advice on creating a media list, email Info@healthitweek.org.) Most of the journalists on your media lists will cover healthcare, IT, public policy or business. In smaller papers, your contact may be just the business reporter or editor.

Journalists repeatedly say they prefer email contact to telephone, so send out your release as an email message. Cut and paste the release into the body of the email since most media outlets do not permit attachments. A very short paragraph (two or three lines) above the release tells the reporter why they should read the release.

Be sure to write a clear, concise subject headline since reporters say the subject line determines whether they will open your email or not. A few journalists are using social media for leads on stories but they are in the minority.