What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

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Key Elements of a Public Awareness Program – Part 1

Good public relations creates good public awareness.

Public relations results from deliberate, intentional, conscious effort that is planned, organized, and systematic. It involves two-way interaction that disseminates information and obtains feedback. But most importantly, it serves the public interest.

Developing a solid public awareness effort is dependent upon understanding what is considered news, how to get coverage, and how to build relationships with the media.

Let’s take a look at defining “newsworthy” this time. In later articles we’ll discuss Tips on Getting Coverage, How to Build Media Relationships, How to Write a Press Release, and close out with Two Simple Tools for Generating Publicity.

What makes a story newsworthy?

News is new information about specific and timely events usually by local, regional or mass media in the form of newspapers, television and radio programs, or Internet sites. Of all of the vast amounts of information in published in the media today, nearly 60 percent of comes from news releases, press conferences, official proceedings, and other non-spontaneous events. That means that a well-crafted public awareness campaign gives you a better than 50-50 chance of getting published.

To write a good news or press release, first you must understand what it is about your subject that is important that it becomes “newsworthy.” Your lead must emphasize the most newsworthy information in the story you are trying to tell.

How do you figure out what information is most newsworthy? There are no pat answers, but some general guidelines exist. Below are several characteristics that can make information newsworthy. The more of these characteristics your news has the more newsworthy the information is.

  • Impact: information has impact if it affects a lot of people.
  • Timeliness: information has timeliness if it happened recently.
  • Prominence: information has prominence if it involves a well-known person or organization.
  • Proximity: information has proximity if it involves something happened somewhere nearby.
  • Conflict: information has conflict if it involves some kind of disagreement between two or more people.
  • Weirdness: information has weirdness if it involves something unusual or strange.
  • Currency: information has currency if it is related to some general topic a lot of people are already talking about.

Stay tuned for more on Creating a Public Awareness Campaign. Tips on Getting Coverage, How to Build Media Relationships, How to Write a Press Release, and Two Simple Tools for Generating Publicity are yet to come.