How to convert Press Release into news report

press releaseThe procedure to rewrite a press release is very much the same as that of writing a news report. The only difference is that the press release provides the main information. However, there may be times when the reporter may need to obtain extra information.

This is done by calling the official who issued the press release or going through past records/reports on the subject.

The following press release was issued by the Press Information Bureau announcing the postponement of bypolls to four constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. You will notice that this press release starts off with an old point. The news is buried in the second paragraph.

Your task as reporter is to locate the news point, and build an intro around it. The next step is to locate the points that supplement the intro. This should go into structuring the story.

Please go through the press note and then follow the steps that have been taken to rewrite it.

# Press release issued by Press Information Bureau on July 30, 2007  17:42 IST 

” POLLING & COUNTING DATES CHANGED FOR 3 ACS BYE-ELECTIONS IN UP

The Election Commission had announced on 24th July, 2007 the schedule for holding by-elections to fill a number of casual vacancies in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies including 39-Ballia Parliamentary Constituency, 20-Suar Tanda, 25-Gunnaur and 296-Farrukhabad Assembly Constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.

In the meanwhile, the Chief Electoral Officer, Uttar Pradesh, in view of the already existing flood situation in eastern U.P and likely water logging during the later half of the month of August in a considerable number of polling stations areas falling within Ballia Parliamentary Constituency, has requested the Commission to consider postponing the bye-election from 39-Ballia Lok Sabha constituency. The Commission having taken all aspects of the issue into consideration has decided to postpone the bye-election from 39-Ballia Parliamentary Constituency. A fresh schedule for the bye-election will be announced in due course.

The Commission has also decided to change the date of poll, in respect of all the three Assembly Constituencies namely, 29-Suar Tanda, 25-Gunnaur and 296-Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh, from 29th August to 31st August, 2007. The date of counting of votes in all these three constituencies has been changed from 31st August, 2007, as announced earlier, to 3rd September, 2007 and the date before which the election shall be completed has been fixed on 5th September, 2007 in respect of all the three above referred assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.

Therefore, the Commission’s press note no. ECI/PN/33/2007 dated 24th July, 2007 may be read as amended accordingly.”

# How to rewrite the press release

# Step 1
Locate the news

a. What is the news?
Election Commission postpones four byelections in Uttar Pradesh.

b. What are the names of the constituencies where the byelections have been postponed?
Ballia Lok Sabha constituency
Suar Tanda, Gunnaur and Farrukhabad Assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh

c. Why have the byelections been postponed?
Because of flooding caused by monsoon rains.

d. What is the new date of election?
Lok Sabha bypoll: Fresh schedule to be announced
Assembly bypolls: New election date August 31
New counting date: September 3

e. Is any information missing? Do I need to call Election Commission and get more information?
No. The information is complete.

f. Do I need to check past records to find out why the byelections to these constituencies were postponed.? Yes. This is advisable as this will add extra value to the press release.
After checking, it was found that the byelections have been caused by the deaths of candidates during the election process.

# Step 2

Write the Lead
NEW DELHI: The byelection to Ballia Lok Sabha seat and Suar Tanda, Gunnaur and Farrukhabad Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh has been postponed by the Election Commission, a press release issued today said.

# Step 3
Structure the story

Give new dates and reason for postponement

The byelections for the three assembly constituencies will now be held on August 31 instead of August 29. The counting date for these assembly constituencies has also been advanced to September 3.

However, no new polling date has been fixed for Ballia bypoll which was scheduled to be held on August 29.

The postponement followed a request from the Chief Election Officer of Uttar Pradesh who expressed inability to hold elections because of flooding of large areas of these constituencies.

The byelections to all four constituencies have resulted from the death of candidates.

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