You’d think of press releases as the last source of information for research purposes, but no. Apparently citing a press release is pretty common, especially in industrial research and academic research projects. As such, several citing formats have been utilized in line with the academic methods including Chicago-style, APA and MLA. This article will guide you through these methods and how to cite a press release, APA, MLA style.
The fact is that press releases are primarily used for information. Therefore, it would stand to reason that they be utilized for research purposes. However, since a press release’s nature conforms more to industrial marketing, therefore it is utilized in the same tune (industrial research and academic disciplines requiring close collaboration with the corporate sector). Either way, a press release gets cited routinely, even in research pertaining to STEM subjects.
While it has academic and industrial research potential, press release citations are majorly used by business reporters and bloggers, the entities which primarily handle press releases. How so? Since they cannot read a whole press release or send the entire document to the channels, what they do is they cite press releases and what information they carry in their articles or blogs along with a link to help an interested person access the press release itself.
So how do either of these methods cite a press release, APA, MLA style? Let’s get into it,
As explained beforehand, press releases can be cited by any citation methods as enumerated by Research Methodology. You can cite one using APA, Chicago-style, MLA or even Harvard-style. Let’s start with APA, American Psychological Association.
Also Read: Press Release Formatting Rules: A Rundown
The American Psychological Association (APA) issues guidelines for citation in its style guide for press releases. However, APA is primarily used in non-STEM fields like psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
So, how would an APA-style press release citation look like? It’s like any other academic APA citation. You’ll list press releases by the name of the author or the name of the organization.
Simply include the year, followed by the month and day if available, in parentheses. You’ll then add the title of the press release. Remember to italicize it, and only capitalize the first word and proper nouns in the title.
After you’re done with the title, you will add the words ‘Press release’ in square brackets, followed by a period. It helps the reader identify the type of document you’re referring to.
Since most press releases are available online, best practices are to list the URL. You’ll add the words “Retrieved from,” then the URL.
Here’s an example:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, June 25). HHS announces new organ transplant guidance [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0626-hhs-organ-transplant-guidance.html
In your text, you’d cite this as (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).
It’s important to note here that APA isn’t the only style guide used to cite press releases. The Modern Languages Association (MLA) also has their own style guide. This format is popular in the Humanities section of academic disciplines.
MLA citations look quite different from APA, but they use most of the same information. Like APA, you’ll start with the name of the author or organization that originally issued the press release.
For the next step, you’ll include the title of the press release. Keep in mind the opening and closing quotation marks.
Then you’ll include the name of the organization, followed by ‘Press Release’ in verbatim.
You’ll then add the date. MLA uses European-style dating and short forms, so make sure you style your date correctly (dd-mm-yyyy).
You can then add the URL of the website where you access the press release. Include an access date for the website.
Here’s what it looks like all together:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “HHS Announces New Organ Transplant Guidance.” CDC Press Release, 25 Jun. 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0626-hhs-organ-transplant-guidance.html. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.
Note that you can use an abbreviation for the agency name in the press release information. If you want to make an in-text citation, you’ll add the name of the author or organization in parentheses.
Citing a press release in Chicago Manual of Style format is similar to the APA press release format. It depends primarily whether you’re using Chicago I or Chicago II. Now you might ask: what in God’s name is Chicago I and II?
Chicago II is an author-date format, like APA, so it makes sense to start here. There are a few key differences between Chicago II and APA citations.
First, Chicago doesn’t enclose dates in parentheses. It also uses quotation marks around titles, and it capitalizes most words in titles. If you’re not sure about capitalization, you can always check CMoS itself or use an online tool to help you.
Once again, you’ll add the URL for the press release to the end of the reference entry. Here’s the CDC example in Chicago author-date format:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. “HHS Announces New Organ Transplant Guidance.” CDC, June 25, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0626-hhs-organ-transplant-guidance.html.
Note that the date is repeated after the title. If you’re using Chicago I, your bibliography entry will look the same as this, with one exception. Remove the first date then.
A footnote or endnote builds on the basic style here, but with key changes to punctuation. Most of the periods will change into commas. Here’s what the CDC example looks like as a Chicago-style note:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “HHS Announces New Organ Transplant Guidance,” June 25, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0626-hhs-organ-transplant-guidance.html.
If you’re using the author-date system, your in-text citations will look a lot like APA. This one would appear as (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2020).
Also Read: How to Write a Book Press Release?
APA and MLA (alongside Chicago) are the most common citation styles for students and researchers looking to cite a press release. However, some disciplines have their own citation guidelines. The writer should always check what style is expected of them.
Some other styles commonly used include,
Many styles build their base on Chicago including AAA and Turabian. If you’re not sure what style is most appropriate, think about the field you’re in. IEEE is designed for engineering, while AMA is for the medical field.
Journalists may want to refer to resources like the Associated Press (AP), which has its own style guide. While the AP stylebook doesn’t have its own citation guidelines, it may offer best practices for when to cite.
There are other style guides for other disciplines. Individual countries may have their own best practices for journalism, and each news outlet may have their own house style as well. If you’re not sure, the best thing to do is ask.
These are the most commonly used methods on how to cite a press release, be it APA, MLA or Chicago style. It mostly pertains to the academic style of citation, and more specifically, it deals with the non-STEM social sciences methods as outlined by research methodologies taught for these disciplines. If all these aspects are followed properly the release is good to go on different press release distribution channels.
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