News is often defined as “Newsworthy information concerning recent events and/or occurances, often as reported by news media”.
But what makes news, and particularly your news, newsworthy?
A list of five key elements, defined below help us determine newsworthiness. When an editor is left to determine suitability of an item, they will measure it against these criteria.
Ideally, you want to hit as many categories as possible to enhance your opportunity; but I recommend at minimum, hit on 2 or 3 of these key factors.
Remember, when receiving coverage for your item; editors receive multiple pitches daily; and larger media operations I’ve dealt with report daily pitches regularly hitting the dozens; and some even in the hundreds… per day! So, be patient; and prepared to perhpas not get coverage if your newsworthiness is marginal.
So, here’s a list that you can use to determine newsworthiness of your story:
The term ‘news’ means exactly that… items or issues that are new. The more current; the more relevant. Today’s aaudiences expect to receive the latest information.
The number of people or groups affected by the story is important.
In news terms; size does matter. We receive more coverage for national elections that we do for local elections, because the implications are higher for a larger group of people.
Stories that occur close to us are more significant, making them more newsworthy. Think of your story in terms of if someone else was pitching it; would you care?
Also, proximity doesn’t necessarily refer to geographical distance. If your story pertains to a certain industry or seasonal activity; would it be relevent to you and your audience? A lost Florida orange crop is relevent across North America, because Florida oranges are sold internationally, and a lost crop will impact supply and demand; pricing, availability…
Famous people and prominent or easily recognized organizations receive coverage just because they are recognizable and people connect with these names or brands.
5. Human Interest
Human interest items are the exception to the rule . They often do not adhere to the rules related to newsworthiness. For instance, human interest pieces aren’t as time sensitive; they do not necessarily have to impact large numbers of people (think about the last time you viewed a story on a hospitalized child in need support); and locality /geographic proximity may not be an issue.