July 12, 2012

We recently did a post on Writing a News Release. We want to expand on the first step: How do identify a news story.

See below for a video we’ve created and also for some tips we’ve outlined in text!

The following are the five basic factors that determine whether or not a story is news worthy. A story should satisfy at least two. It’s important to consider that even if a story is newsworthy there is still competition for media’s attention and some stories won’t be able to compete with breaking news such as a royal engagement or a crisis overseas.

Timing: Topics that are current make good news. Consumers appreciate instant updates and will disregard old, irrelevant information. If something happened today its news, if it happened last week it’s no longer interesting.

Significance: If the story affects a lot a people it is newsworthy. A fire that evacuated an entire apartment building versus one that evacuated one house will garner more attention.

Proximity: Tying in with significance, local stories will be more relevant and leverage more coverage. Proximity isn’t limited to geographical distance; it also has to do with relationships. For example news about England is relevant for Canada, whereas news about Greece may not be as applicable.

Prominence: People with celebrity status will automatically receive more coverage.

Human Interest: This is the quality of newsworthiness that disregards some of the other stipulations. Human-interest stories appeal to emotion and evoke responses. These stories often don’t expire and may not affect a large number of people. Many publications and broadcasters have a designated area for these interesting or uncommon stories.

Next time you’re flipping through the paper try to identify what made the story interesting; it’ll likely fall into one of the categories that we covered!