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How to Cite a Press Release in Harvard Style?

Published by at August 30th, 2021 , Revised On July 6, 2022

What are press releases?

Before a piece of news becomes the news, it’s a press release. These are official documents written by members of the news media. They then provide this document to other members of the media who are responsible for publishing it. The primary source of information, or rather, as journalists call it, the ‘informant’ of any news, is first a press release.

A press release is not public. It only becomes known to everyone once it’s published, at which point it’s no longer called a press release, but the news itself. Furthermore, it only contains the bottom line: facts, figures, the main idea, etc. This enables journalists to quickly write a full-length, official article that will then be used to create the news report to be published.

 

In-Text Citation and Reference Formats with Examples

Harvard referencing uses the following basic format to cite and reference press releases:

In-text citation: (Title, Year Published)

Reference list entry: Title. (Year Published). [online] Available at: http://Website URL [Accessed Date Accessed].

Note: Some Harvard referencing guides, published by certain institutions, for example, recommend italicising the title of the press release. However, many don’t. This should still be confirmed from one’s own institution and what it has specified in its own referencing guidelines.

For example

In-text citation: …rate of recidivism for Indigenous women is high (Press Statement by Dr William Jonas, Aboriginal and Torres, 2014)

Reference list entry: Press Statement by Dr William Jonas, Aboriginal and Torres, (2014). [online] Available at: http://Press Statement by Dr William Jonas, Aboriginal and Torres [Accessed 17 Aug. 2014].

 

Press Release vs Media Release

On one hand, there’s a press release, while on the other hand, there’s something called a media release. The two are slightly different, mainly in the style of their composition. A press release is more ‘official’ as it can be a full-length news report article, summary, or any such type of text.

Contrary to that, a media release is less official. It’s also shorter than a press release. A post by National Geographic on their official Twitter page, for instance, about their upcoming magazine issue, will be a media release.

As the name suggests, a media release is a message, comment, or any such brief type of text that is published on a company’s/group’s/organisation’s official social media platforms. It doesn’t necessarily have to be news, either. It can even be a promotional tagline about a new product being launched, for example.

Harvard referencing and citation format for media releases is like that for press releases, albeit with a few minor changes. Firstly, since the author’s name isn’t known sometimes when it comes to a press release, the title of the press release is cited instead.

But in the case of a media release, the name of the media post writer, group or company is shown on their social media platform. So, it’s cited instead of the media release title. Besides, a media release does not really have a formal title.

And secondly, following the availability of the author’s name for a media release and not for a press release, the title of a press release is given the first position in the reference list entry instead of the author’s name.

 

Citing Media Releases in Harvard Style

The format for citing and referencing a social media press release in Harvard style is as follows:

In-text citation: (Author Surname Year)

Reference list entry: Author Surname, Initial(s), Year. Medial release title in italics, Publisher place if applicable, viewed Day Month Year, <URL>.

For example:

In-text citation: (Morrison 2015)

Reference list entry: Morrison, S (Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia) 2015, Tax and business incentives to boost economic growth & jobs, media release, 7 December, Parliament House, Canberra, viewed 15 December 2010, http://sjm.ministers.treasury.gov.au/media-release/022-2015/

Note: The format—media release—in the reference list might or might not be enclosed within []. If it needs to be, it should be done so consistently throughout the manuscript and in accordance with one’s institution’s referencing guidelines.

 

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About Alaxendra Bets

Bets completed her degree in English Literature in 2014. She has been working as a professional editor and writer with Research Prospect since then. Bets loves to help students improve their learning.