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What Makes a Story Newsworthy? (TOW-6) February 22, 2010

Posted by Chris Yates in PRCA 3330-Topic of the Week.
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     Finding and making news can be a challenge at first. To begin with, the large scope of the media can be intimidating. With so many outlets to work with, it is sometimes a hard decision to decide the best option for your media campaign. Identifying the demographics of a target audience is a great way to get started. Senior citizens may not be as technologically savvy as those from younger generations for instance, so the internet wouldn’t be the best option. On the other hand, a young family that is constantly on the go might not have the time to sit down and spend time with a newspaper or 30 minute news program, and may instead choose to access news at their convenience online.

     Not just anything can be considered news however. PR practitioners should be aware that news must be timely or current, significant, and incorporate human interest. Also, an event’s relative proximity to the public’s community can make it more relevant.

     I think that the key to successfully get a client in the news is to create “news events” related to the organization and its goals. The same principles apply here as they did towards finding something newsworthy. Shouldn’t a planned event be relevant to those who live in the community? If it isn’t, then people might not care about it in the first place. It’s hard to please everybody, but with patience and perserverance, I think the mind can be trained to “see” what people are going to want. Afterall, the practitioner is human too. Immersing oneself in pop culture is a surefire way to be “in the know.”

     Polls and surveys should be a practitioners best friend and they serve two purposes. First, they can help you gather useful data on the public’s perception of a product, event, or organization. Second, survey results can be published through different mediums in order to generate publicity. If all else fails though, give away prizes! People love anything free, seemingly no matter what it is.

All information is paraphrased from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.

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