Candidate Filing Press Release & Resulting Press Coverage: A (Personal) Case Study

It is officially election season for municipal candidates in North Carolina and across the country. Learning the nuts and bolts of putting together a campaign is vitally important to your electoral success. But what does this look like in the real world?

Periodically, I will share some actual examples from my own campaigns. These examples are not of the “right” and “only” way of doing things. I present them as case studies that your campaign can use to discuss what works for your election and your community.

Starting with: The Filing Press Release and the Resulting News Coverage

My 2011 bid for a seat on the Sanford, NC City Council was my first foray in politics. I did not have a separate, earlier announcement press release or campaign event. Filing was our campaign debut.

The night before officially filing, we launched our campaign website. The day of filing, I submitted the following press release and file photo. I both emailed the electronic files to the newspaper (and other media outlets) as well as dropped a thumb drive of the documents physically off to the paper.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rebecca Wyhof Announces Candidacy for Sanford City Council Ward 5

Sanford, NC – July 26, 2011 - Rebecca Wyhof, a Jonesboro resident and Vice President of the North Carolina Telecommunications Industry Association, is pleased to announce her candidacy for Sanford City Council Ward 5.

Wyhof’s top priorities include the revitalization of Jonesboro, economic development, ensuring public safety open and responsive government.

“Residents need a voice on the issues that are important to them and their families,” Wyhof said. “These tough economic times call for leaders willing to work hard, ask tough questions, and find solutions that balance quality of life and sound financial stewardship.”

Wyhof believes that she is the ideal candidate for city council because she has a strong foundation in municipal governance, nonprofit leadership, and fifteen years of public service experience. She is willing to look at all sides of an issue with an open mind and work cooperatively with those with diverse interests.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Public Communication from American University in Washington, DC.

“I love the vitality of downtown Sanford, and I love living in historic Jonesboro. It is important to preserve our history while looking ahead to meet the challenges of tomorrow. I am running for city council because I believe that I have the energy, skills and determination to work effectively with residents, businesses and fellow council members to build a community we are proud to call home. I would appreciate your vote on Tuesday, November 8th.”

For more information about the campaign, visit:


Contact: Karen Walker, Campaign Manager and Treasurer CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER CONTACT EMAIL ADDRESS


Here is the story that ran:

Interesting to note: The photo submitted with the press release was not the photo that was used for the story. The photo the newspaper selected was one they had on file from some volunteer work that I had done in the community. I mention this to illustrate that you can only control so much about what happens after you send your press release to your media list.

For example, you may send in a professional photo of yourself that your campaign determines appropriate only to find yourself on the front page of the paper in a paint smeared t-shirt. You cannot control what quotes they pull from the release, if they call and ask for more information, if they interview other folks, or the tone of the piece. You cannot control if the story is even covered.

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