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What’s the difference between newswire and press release distribution wire agencies?

By Lindsey Chastain

Both agencies distribute information to media outlets and the public, but they serve different purposes.


A person working on a press release on a computer.News wire services and press release distribution wires are both valuable tools for communicating with the media, but they serve distinct purposes.






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Newswire agencies like Associated Press and Reuters operate newsrooms that create original, objective news stories. Articles are distributed via wire service to subscribing news outlets for publication with the goal to provide media organizations worldwide with breaking news coverage.


Alternatively, press release wire services such as PR Newswire distribute company-written press releases aimed at generating media interest. Organizations use them to circulate major announcements to relevant journalists and outlets. The focus is publicizing and promoting an organization's own news.


For public relations professionals, press release wires are an important media relations asset. Though building reporter relationships is still key, these services can amplify visibility for corporate announcements. The wires use targeted media lists to efficiently disseminate releases to niche trade journals, local outlets, and national news sites.


In an integrated communications strategy, both newswire agencies and press release wires have advantages. Understanding the nuanced differences between the two is important for communications professionals.


Newswire Agencies

News wire agencies, also called news services, gather and distribute news stories, photos, and other content to subscribing media outlets. Major news wire agencies include the Associated Press (AP), Reuters, and Agence France-Presse (AFP).


News wire agencies have journalists around the world who research and write objective news stories on current events, similar to the news articles published by newspapers and broadcast by TV and radio stations. The wire agencies then distribute these stories via their wire service to subscribing media outlets, which publish or broadcast the content.


The main purpose of newswire agencies is to efficiently gather and share newsworthy information with news media organizations. This allows media outlets to access news stories without having dedicated reporters everywhere in the world. The wire service acts as a wholesale provider of news.


Press Release Distribution Wire Agencies

Press release distribution wire agencies help companies and organizations distribute press releases to targeted media outlets and journalists. Examples of press release wires include PR Newswire, Business Wire, and GlobeNewswire.


The primary difference is that press releases are written by the organization releasing the information, not by journalists. Press releases are a public relations tool used to announce news from an organization or company, such as financial earnings, new products, hirings, partnerships, and other milestones.


The goal of distributing press releases over a wire agency is to secure media coverage for the announced news. The press release wire agencies use targeted distribution to disseminate press releases to relevant journalists and media outlets in hopes of getting news coverage, unlike general news wires, which distribute broadly to all subscribers.


News wires objectively report news, while press release wires subjectively promote an organization’s announcements. News media outlets rely on news wires as a critical information source, whereas press releases are an incoming promotional piece.


Leveraging Press Release Wires for Media Relations

Corporate press releases should focus primarily on traditional media relations tactics like building relationships with reporters and crafting targeted pitches. However, press release distribution wire services can also be an impactful part of a media relations strategy for corporate communications.


Press release wires like PR Newswire and Business Wire help companies efficiently disseminate their announcements to relevant media outlets and journalists. The wire services use targeted distribution lists to share corporate press releases with industry trade publications, local business journals, and national news sites.


For corporate communicators, press release wires increase visibility for company announcements and make it easy for interested media to pick up the news. The service handles securing coverage rather than having to pitch individual outlets.


Wires are especially useful for the wider distribution of earnings reports, executive hires, acquisitions, product launches, and other major news. A strong press release can secure placements in both trade and local media simultaneously. While relationships with journalists remain important, press release distribution amplifies a company's ability to get their message out. 

Need help improving your corporate communications? Contact us today or book a one-on-one consultation to learn more about our news media services.


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Topics: news release, earned media, news media

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