Today is the 112th birthday of the press release. On October 30, 1906, the New York Times printed verbatim the very first press release written by Ivy Lee, the “father of modern PR.”

The Pennsylvania Railroad was a client of Ivy Lee, and on October 28th, 1906, 50 people lost their lives due to a three-car train jumping a trestle in New Jersey and plunging into a thoroughfare creek. In response to this, Ivy Lee created the first press release that afternoon. He not only convinced the railroad to distribute a public statement, but he also convinced them to provide a special train to get reporters to the scene of the accident.

The New York Times was so impressed with this innovative approach to corporate communications that it printed the first press release—verbatim—on Oct. 30, 1906, as a “Statement from the Road.”

It was Ivy Lee’s policies such as the press release that turned Public Relations into a respectable profession. While the anatomy of the press release is much the same as it was ‘back then,’ the modern-day public press release has evolved into a multi-channel effort that combines public relations and digital marketing. Today messages can be delivered instantaneously directly to the masses, unfiltered, and in the words of the author. We’re sure Ivy Lee never dreamed of such technology and innovation.

By the way, today is also National Candy Corn Day! Now, that’s something to write a press release about.

Marketing Strategies, Inc. has been building brands and reputations AND writing press releases for over 20 years. Looking for an agency that can build your brand? Contact Denise Blackburn-Gay, APR (accredited in Public Relations) at 843-692-9662 or via email:

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