The question that every public relations practitioner has to answer is what makes news, news? Public relations have to follow the elements that appeal to media gatekeepers because they are the ones that decide what will appear in the paper. Timeliness is a key element of what creates a story. When an event occurs that is within a certain time and has not been covered by any other newspaper, the gatekeepers will want to grab at this opportunity since no other newspaper has information on the event yet. An example is during holidays, have articles to pertain to the holiday such as cheap presents or ideas for presents. Prominence deals with grand openings, such as ribbon cuttings of a new store or possibly a celebrity appearance come speak at a local high school. Proximity stories, also called hometowners. A form of localizing a story is by highlighting various aspects of a person’s background in different publications. For example, a famous tennis player is being interviewed and talks about where he went to high school and where he use to train. Significance is any situation or event that can affect a substantial number of people. Global warming is considered as a hot topic, so publicists make the topic significant by focusing on the popular consumer items that may cause global warming. Unusualness is anything out of the ordinary that may attract press interest and public attention. A good story that would pertain to this element would be the biggest cake ever made or a celebrity male dressing up as a female. Human interest is the fact that people like to read about other people. By humanizing stories it is more likely that a gatekeeper would run the article. For example, a background article about a restaurant chief that is featured in the living section. Conflict happens when two or more groups advocate different views on a topic of current interest, this creates news. Covering a protest outside of a tobacco company building is interesting to individuals because it gives people’s opinions from both angles. Last is newsness, which is advertising and marketing people say that the two words they find most useful are “new” or “free”. So a great way to create a news release is announcing a new product or service from a company.
Week Six: What makes a story newsworthy? February 17, 2010