Sunday, March 16, 2014

What makes something newsworthy


In my work with clients, I always try to find the newsworthy aspects of the information that they want to announce.

what makes a story newsworthy
To assist them in understanding what makes something newsworthy, it helps to take the viewpoint of a news reporter or editor.

I found the following news values list from the University of Utah very useful:
  1. Impact: The significance, importance, or consequence of an event or trend; the greater the consequence, and the larger the number of people for whom an event is important the greater the newsworthiness.
  2. Timeliness: The more recent, the more newsworthy. In some cases, timeliness is relative. An event may have occurred in the past but only have been learned about recently.
  3. Prominence: Occurrences featuring well-known individuals or institutions are newsworthy. Well-knownness may spring either from the power the person or institution possesses – the president, the speaker of the House of Representatives – or from celebrity – the late Princess Diana or fashion designer Gianni Versace.
  4. Proximity: Closeness of the occurrence to the audience may be gauged either geographically – close by events, all other things being equal, are more important than distant ones – or in terms of the assumed values, interest and expectations of the news audience.
  5. The Bizarre: The unusual, unorthodox, or unexpected attracts attention. Boxer Mike Tyson’s disqualification for biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear moves the story from the sports pages and the end of a newscast to the front pages and the top of the newscast.
  6. Conflict: Controversy and open clashes are newsworthy, inviting attention on their own, almost regardless of what the conflict is over. Conflict reveals underlying causes of disagreement between individuals and institutions in a society.
  7. Currency: Occasionally something becomes an idea whose time has come. The matter assumes a life of its own, and for a time assumes momentum in news reportage.
  8. Human Interest: Those stories that have more of an entertainment factor versus any of the above -- not that some of the other news values cannot have an entertainment value.
Consider these news values the next time you're trying to determine the appropriate pitch to a reporter. 

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!
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