This week we were asked “What makes a story newsworthy?” Personally I believe it all depends on the audience. However, I have found several sources that have different sources that list specifics of what to look for in a story. In our textbook, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th Edition, Chapter 4 is all about Finding and Making News. The authors list important things that make news:
- Human Interest
Because I have already written a blog entry about this chapter I will be explaining a different list of qualities as described by About.com, in the article “What Makes Something Newsworthy” written by Tony Rogers.
- Impact or Consequences. The greater the impact the story has, the more newsworthy it is. Events that have an impact on your readers, that have real consequences for their lives, are bound to be newsworthy.
- Conflict. As human beings we’re naturally interested in conflict.
- Loss of Life/Property Destruction. If it bleeds, it leads. What that means is that any story involving a loss of human life (whether a shooting to a fire) is bound to be newsworthy. Likewise, nearly any story that inc9olces property destruction on a large enough scale is also newsworthy.
- Proximity. How close an event is geographically located to readers.
- Promninence. If people in story are famous or prominent, the story becomes more newsworthy.
- Timeliness. News needs to be about what’s happening this day, this hour, this minute.
- Novelty. “When a dog bites a man, no one cares. When the man bites back – now that’s a news story.” The idea, of course, is that any deviation from the normal, expected course of events is something novel.
Both lists have things in common and things that differ. But overall the most important points to remember when writing a story are timeliness, prominence, proximity, conflict, and unusualness/novelty.