Major news outlets publish anywhere between
200 and 500 stories
every single day. That often doesn’t include wire stories, which are written and prepared outside the newsroom.
Local outlets may publish less. Even so, the frantic pace of the 24-hour news cycle can leave even the best journalists looking for new stories. Business reporters and bloggers will often turn to press releases to find new ideas.
If that sounds like you, you might be wondering how to cite a press release properly. Students and researchers may also want to reference press releases for case studies and more.
So, how do you create these citations? Once you’ve picked your citation style, you can use this guide to create the perfect citation every time.
How to Cite a Press Release in APA
The American Psychological Association issues guidelines for citation in its style guide. APA is popular in fields like psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
So, what does an APA press release citation look like? It’s like other APA citations. You’ll list press releases by author or organization name.
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 the title, you’ll 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).
How to Cite a Press Release in MLA
APA isn’t the only style guide out there. The Modern Languages Association, or MLA, also has their own style guide. This format is popular in the humanities.
MLA citations look quite a bit different than APA, but they use most of the same information. Like APA, you’ll start with the name of the author or organization that issued the press release.
Next, you’ll include the title of the press release. Don’t forget your opening and closing quotation marks.
Then you’ll include the name of the organization, followed by “Press Release.”
You’ll then add the date. MLA uses European-style dating and short forms, so make sure you style your date correctly.
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.
How to Cite a Press Release in Chicago Style
Citing a press release in
Chicago Manual of Style
format is similar to APA press release format. It does depend on if you’re using Chicago I or Chicago 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.
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).
APA, Chicago, and MLA are the most common citation styles for students and researchers. Some disciplines have their own citation guidelines, though. You should always check what style is expected of you.
other common styles
American Medical Association (AMA)
American Anthropological Association (AAA)
American Political Science Association (APSA)
Many styles build 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, 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
, and each news outlet may have their own house style as well. If you’re not sure, the best thing to do is ask.
Cite Your Sources in Style
Now you know how to cite a press release in three of the most common citation styles. Many other styles are based on APA, Chicago, or MLA. You’ll be ready to cite your sources in proper style.