Submitting a Press Release to the New York Times

Intelligent Relations
By Intelligent Relations Team

With a readership of 9.32 million, the New York Times is one of the widest-circulated publications in the world. That means, press coverage in this prestigious paper can be a golden ticket for many companies and organizations. 

One way to try to get this sought-after coverage is by submitting a press release to the paper for a major newsworthy occasion.

Keep in mind, the New York Times won’t just publish any story they’re sent. First off, it needs to be worth featuring, but, most importantly, it needs to be formatted in a specific way so that it’s even considered for review.

In this guide, we’re going to show you how to correctly format and submit a press release to the New York Times to give it the best chance of being accepted. We’ll discuss:

What the New York Times considers “newsworthy”

Before we start, if you’re not familiar with press releases, they’re official statements delivered to targeted media concerning major company or organization announcements. 

Their goal is to generate media coverage by providing the crucial information about the major announcement and reinforcing why it’s worth talking about. 

A key phrase here is “major announcement”—a press release for the New York Times needs to be a big story if it’s going to be considered newsworthy. 

Some examples of major announcements that would fit a description like this include:

It’s also worth being aware of the types of press releases that aren’t considered newsworthy, because fair warning: wasting a publication’s time with an insignificant announcement won’t win favors. In fact, it’s likely any future press releases you might send will be ignored. 

Therefore, avoid submitting any press release that won’t be considered newsworthy, such as:

  • A sales promotion
  • An insignificant product update
  • A non-C-suite new hire within a large company 

How to format a press release for the New York Times

Anytime you’re writing a press release, you must aware of proper press release formatting correctly. 

Over the years, journalists have developed a set of guidelines for how press releases should look, because with an industry standard format, every reader knows where to look for the information they need. 

Not abiding by this expected format can quickly frustrate a journalist at a media outlet, leading to your press release being dismissed after even just a cursory glance.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, stick to the following outline for your press release.

  • Title – The first thing a reader sees should be specific so they know exactly what they’re reading, but enticing so that they keep reading. No more than 20 words.
  • First Paragraph – Where the reader expects to find the most important information. Get straight to the good stuff and lay out the “5 Ws” (who, what, when, where, and why). Keep it straightforward and concise, and under 80 words.
  • Second and Third Paragraph – Relax a bit here, providing additional information that puts your announcement in a larger context. For instance, relate it to current events, and explain why it’s happening now, who’s involved, and what it means. This section should be 200 words or less and stay on point.
  • Quote (Optional) – It’s traditional for press releases to include at least one quote from someone involved, such as a board member, a CEO, or any senior-level manager. It should be short, inspirational, and show confidence in the announcement itself (e.g., “At [Company X] we’ve always been focused on the big picture of where the industry is heading, and we believe this merger will help accelerate us in that direction.”).
  • Fourth Paragraph – Conclude the announcement with some final words about what it means to the company or organization, and how it will affect things moving forward. Don’t exaggerate or use hyperbole and keep the word count to 80 words or less.
  • Boilerplate – All press releases include a section at the end where basic information on the press release issuer is provided called a boilerplate. What is the company or organization and what does it do? Just think of the “About Us” section on a website.
  • Contact Info – Lastly, provide contact information for press inquiries. If your release succeeds in generating coverage, you may receive calls for further information.

There are a few other pointers below to keep in mind when drafting your press release.

  • Use objective language – Stick to facts and be neutral and objective. Press releases are intended to provide information, not sell something.
  • Use third person – Press releases should always be written in the third person, never second or first. The only exception to this is the quote.
  • Keep it concise – The press release format typically allows for a single page of copy. If yours is any longer, you need to trim it down.
  • Consider the audience – Think about who you’re writing for (in this case, a journalist at the NYT) and ask yourself what sort of information they would be the most interested in.

Submission options for press releases at the New York Times 

Once you’ve drafted and formatted your press release, begin the final steps for submission. 

Self-submission via email

As a major global publication, the New York Times is very careful about receiving information. Sending a press release to the Times can be futile if not done correctly.

Generally, they don’t deal with unsolicited press releases, but if you believe your announcement meets their standards of newsworthiness, you can reach them here.

Just remember, there’s no guarantee you’ll receive a reply, much less a mention in the next issue. You can improve your odds, however, by reaching out directly to a specific journalist, editor, or department that can recognize the value of the announcement.  

Submission via press release distribution service

To be honest, your odds of success with the New York Times even when submitting through a press release distribution service are still pretty slim. Many of the press release distribution services available to you tend to overpromise and underdeliver. 

Don’t trust any service that guarantees coverage with the New York Times, because that’s a promise that no one can make.

If you want to know more about press release distribution, check out our other industry-specific guides:

Nonprofit press release submission

Reuters press release submission

AP News press release submission

How to find out if your press release has been published

Here’s the reality: major media publications like the New York Times receive a mountain of news releases each and every day. Chances are, once you’ve submitted, you won’t receive a notice or reply, or desired coverage, unless you represent a nationally recognized brand or business. 

While this can seem pretty disheartening, it doesn’t mean you should give up on trying to get media coverage from the New York Times. It’s important in your pursuit that you simply know the odds that you’re up against. 

Try making contact with specific journalists or departments in the hope that they will pick up the story. If you do get lucky, your source will typically reply to let you know that they’re interested.

Other ways to generate media coverage

Putting all your hopes on one single publication for coverage on your press release is a good recipe for failure. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of publications at your disposal to submit your press release to. Pitch to a dozen publications, and see if any pick up the announcement. Your chances can be improved by pitching publications that specialize in reporting on your industry or marketplace. 

If you’re able to gain traction with a more specialized media outlet, and your announcement is truly newsworthy, other publications may then pick up your story.

Wrapping up on press releases for the New York Times

The bottom line is, press releases are just one tool in the arsenal of good PR. 

There are a handful of ways to get people talking about your company or organization, like thinkpiece bylines, professional interviews, op-eds, blog posts, even podcast appearances, just to name a few.

A good PR campaign will seek to use all these tools to get your story out there and generate interest. But just writing a press release seems like too much at the moment, there’s no shame in turning to a team of professionals. At Intelligent Relations, good PR is what we do.

Feel free to reach out and find out how we can help you get your story out there.