What is a News Story?

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  • What Is a News Story?

    It can be difficult to tell what kind of story will make news. It’s not an exact science. Simply sending a press release doesn’t guarantee its use, but there are several factors that can make a news release more newsworthy.

    Timeliness - Is the subject matter current?

    There are issues that seem to be discussed in the news daily. Global warming, school violence, and medical or business ethics always seem to find their way into the headlines. If you are working on research or teaching a class involving subjects that are already in the news, it could be interesting to the media. Also, keep in mind that something that happened today or will happen in the near future has more appeal for the media than something that happened some time in the past. The more current the event is the more likely the media is to cover it.

    Uniqueness – How unusual is it?

    The first program of its kind at Carlow University may have news appeal. However, how much appeal it may have to the news media may depend on how many other colleges or universities have similar programs. If Carlow has added a program that many schools in the region already have, the media may not be as interested in covering it.

    Human Interest – Who would be interested in this issue?

    Editors consider this exact question daily before they decide which stories they should cover. It is a good practice to ask this question when requesting a news release. There are always exciting developments within a special academic field, but what is the best way to explain the ramifications of this new development to the average reader, viewer, or listener? If a new development has significance for the average person, it will have broader appeal.

    Are There Different Audiences for Different Stories?

    Absolutely. It’s important to know your audience when making a pitch to the media. Most times, a business reporter won’t be be interested in a reading by a poet, just as the national media won’t be interested in a story that only has local-interest appeal. Expectations about what you are hoping to accomplish with a news release are important to consider before sending the release.