1. The headline is catchy.
  2. The first sentence contains the story angle.
  3. The first sentence does not reference the name of a person or organisation.
  4. The first 2–3 sentences answer who, what, where, why, when and how.
  5. The first paragraph is bright, direct, simple and promises a good story. It has no adjectives!
  6. The most important information is located at the top.
  7. As you read down, the material becomes less important.
  8. The story includes relevant quotes.
  9. All quotes have been approved by the people quoted.
  10. The story passes the ‘so what?’ test.
  11. A 12-year-old could read and understand the story.
  12. Sentences are all under 20 words.
  13. Paragraphs are no more than 2 sentences.
  14. The whole media release is less than 1 page.
  15. The story uses personal words such as ‘you’ and ‘we’.
  16. The story uses active voice and has no redundant words or ‘empty’ phrases (e.g. ‘in order to’).
  17. The embargo date/time is identified clearly at the top (if the story cannot be used until a particular date/time).
  18. Contact details for interviews and for more information are listed clearly at the bottom (date, time, place, mobile phone numbers, email addresses, maps, URLs).
  19. Details of photos available (for print media) and vision opportunities (for television) are included at the bottom.
  20. Photo opportunities are described in bold at the bottom.