Press Release and Media Writing

Welcome to the Press Release and Media Writing Course at NZ Writers College.

Learn to write effective and stand-out press releases for this competitive and expanding field. You can write on suggested topics, or use copy drawn from your own workplace or interests..

Whether you want to work as a freelance PR writer, or in-house for a company, this course will teach you to write and deliver media releases that work for busy journalists.

On the course, you find out how to....

  • select your relevant target audience
  • compile a honed media list
  • choose the right style for your release
  • write punchy, effective copy, correctly laid out
  • issue your release
  • re-purpose your release for national and local pitches
  • handle photocalls and issue a photocall notice
  • establish a professional reputation in the vibrant field of PR.


“Honestly, I'm not sure there's a way to describe my experience on this course. Wow! That's all I can say. My tutor Fiona Walsh was great. It's been an incredible experience and I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking to study journalism, or any field of writing.”

Gregory Seebregts, Press Releases and Media Writing Course


Press Release and Media Writing at NZ Writers College

Course Details:


Students must complete:


Admission Requirements:

  • Cost: $ 795.00 GST inclusive
  • Modules: 6 Modules
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace: within six months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round via our website
  • Five writing assignments for each module (for assessment and feedback)
  • Two full press releases suitable for issue
  • One introductory email
  • One photocall invitation
  • Student Feedback
  • Basic writing skills are essential
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required
  • No previous tertiary qualification required
Skype Option There is a skype session option available for this course. More....

Tutor for this course:

Fiona-Walsh-Press Release and Media Writing tutor at NZ Writers College
Fiona Walsh has an MA in Communications from City University, London and over 20 years’ experience working in publicity and media writing, including as Publicity Manager for English National Ballet, Head of Press for the Royal National Theatre and Director of Press and Marketing for Bermuda Shorts Film, all based in London. More recently she worked as an Account Director for Total Exposure PR in South Africa, managing a diverse range of clients including BBC Worldwide, BBC World News and the National Arts Council of South Africa. She returned to the National Theatre in London for a year in 2012 as Communications Manager, with overall responsibility for managing broadcast, print, online and social media content around the NTs involvement in the 2012 Cultural Olympiad during the Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

You can read more about Fiona here.

Course Curriculum


Module 1 - Getting started in the PR industry

  • Overview of the publicity field
  • What is a press release?
  • Who are you writing for?
  • What’s the angle?
  • Exercise 1 – identifying target media and news angles for a press release (for feedback and assessment)

Module 2 - The Format and Structure of a Press Release

  • Finding the right style
  • The Inverted Pyramid
  • The opening paragraph
  • Five W’s (& an H)
  • Exercises 2 & 3 - using the Five W’s (& an H) model to draft an introductory paragraph (for feedback and assessment)

Module 3 - Writing the Body of a Press Release

  • Paragraph two
  • Using titles
  • Incorporating quotes
  • Exercises 4 & 5 – drafting a second paragraph and incorporating quotes into your release (for feedback and assessment)

Module 4 - The Importance of the Good Closer in a Press Release

  • The closing paragraph
  • Headlines and footnotes
  • Layout
  • Less is more - edit, edit and edit again
  • The importance of credibility
  • Proof reading & fact checking
  • Press release 1 – using the key building blocks to draft your own press release (for feedback and assessment)

Module 5 - How to Issue Your Press Release

  • Issuing your press release
  • Adapting your press release
  • What happens next? be prepared.
  • Press release 2 – adapting your press release to suit a variety of media
  • Introductory letter – drafting a brief letter or email to accompany your release (both exercises for feedback and assessment)

Module 6 - Understanding the PR Industry - Vital Insider Tips and Tools

  • Images vs. photocalls
  • Building up a strong portfolio
  • Looking for work
  • Freelance vs in-house PR
  • Charging for work
  • Photocall notice – drafting a photocall notice for picture desks (for feedback and assessment)


“The course was extremely well-structured and I appreciated the personal interaction with my tutor.”

Lisl Whytock, Press Release and Media Writing



How does the course work?


Detailed class notes covering the content of each module are e-mailed to students. At the end of each module, students will be required to complete one or two writing exercises.

In total, the course includes five writing assignments, all of which count towards the final result of the student. Students must also produce one photocall invitation (100 words approx.) and two press releases (450 words approx. each).

Once the writing assignment has been completed, and e-mailed to the lecturer, an assessment and feedback will be sent to the student, and the module will be considered complete.


Conditions of Certification:


Students will receive an NZ Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided they meet the following conditions:

  • Students must have completed all nine assignments (namely: five writing exercises, two press releases, one introductory letter, one photocall invitation)
  • Students must have attained a minimum of 50% for both press releases
  • The course must have been completed within twelve months of registration.

Minimum Estimated Time Commitment:

The minimum time required to benefit from the course is roughly:
  • Reading time: 6 hours 
  • Writing time: up to 15 hours
  • Research time: up to 3 hours

Need more advice about the best course for you?

We would love to chat to you if you have any questions about our writing courses.

If you need some advice about the best course or writing field for you, drop us a line or give Koos or Nichola a call at 09 550 4635. We can tell you about going rates in the field, chance of publishing success and general writing career options both in New Zealand and internationally.

  • If you have questions about how we work, we have information in our FAQ section and How We Train section.
  • If you want to pay off your course fee, please read the information here.
  • For information on our refund policy, please read our policies here.
  • To register for the course, please click here:


Click here to enrol



Read what past-students say about this course

“I found  my tutor Fiona Walsh incredibly helpful. I really enjoyed working with her. She picked me up when I was down, was patient, helpful and very professional at all times. It was  good to brush up on my writing skills and to increase my knowledge of pitching and understanding press targeting.” Chani Macauley, Press Release and Media Writing Course

“The course was invaluable!  The material was current and the tutor gave industry savvy information and straight-talking feedback. This was fine with me because I expect to meet this kind of communication in the real world of business. It’s good practice to learn and take in the tutor’s years of experience and expertise. I’m deciding whether to sign up to the Magazine Journalism Course or the Copywriting Course next. I would describe the course as responsive and relative to the industry as well as supportive and motivational.” Tom Te Kooti Anderson, Press Release and Media Writing

“I had a great time completing this course. Fiona was wonderful, approachable and her feedback really insightful. Overall the experience was efficient, fast and insightful”.  Margaux Stevens, Press Release and Media Writing Course

“I very much enjoyed the practical assignments; they gave me the opportunity to practice my skills. It's one thing to have notes but it adds such meaning when you actually have to apply them. I found my tutor Fiona Walsh to be prompt, considerate and generous. Her feedback after every assignment was always constructive and insightful; it gave me the tools to improve my writing. I found this methodology invaluable. Thank you. I am considering taking the Writing for Social Media Course later this year.” Jann Robertson, Press Release and Media Writing

"I really appreciated Fiona's encouraging manner and her patience with me. I really enjoyed this course - thanks so much!" Lisa Wright, Press Release and Media Writing

“I enjoyed the course and had fun doing the research. I received good feedback from my tutor which allowed me to do the work as instructed. I will do another course - I’m still deciding which one.” Lerato Ramango, Press Release and Media Writing

“I loved it. It was a great course with detailed feedback from the tutor who was very knowledgeable about the industry. Fiona was great with giving feedback and motivating me to write.” Lekha Gosai, Press Release and Media Writing

“The course was extremely well-structured and I appreciated the personal interaction with my tutor. I loved Fiona's promptness and her constructive criticism. I felt that I learnt a lot from her and was sad to have finished the course. I will definitely complete another course through the Writers' College.” Lisl Whytock, Press Release and Media Writing

"I've found the course very helpful in terms of my job as a communications officer. I feel more confident of my writing of press releases now. The positive feedback of the tutor helped me a lot and encouraged me to think outside the box. She created an atmosphere that was conducive for learning. This course is value for your money, excellent if you don't have the time to physically attend a course. Great online services." Laticia Pienaar, Press Release and Media Writing

“My experience with the course was very good. Feedback was given consistently and without delays between submissions; it was always professional and encouraging. It was a very well structured course. It reminded me about all the smaller things one needs to remember when writing.” Portia Ntsaluba, Press Release and Media Writing


More Testimonials Here



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About Us

NZ Writers College is a leading online writing school in New Zealand.

We offer specialised, online writing courses tutored by award-winning writers. Get the writing tools you need, expert insider advice and hours and hours of writing practice. Work one-to-one with a professional writer and realise your writing dreams.



NZ Writers College offers online writing classes all over New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. We have students from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Whangarei, Rotorua, Hastings, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, as well as Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, Australia.

Contact Us

Nichola Meyer or Koos Turenhout

Phone:      +64 9 550 4635

9-5 Monday to Friday

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