Finding and Making News

As a public relations professional, a large part of your job will be to write and place stories in the media on behalf of an employer or client.  But, it’s not that easy.  There are obstacles one must learn to navigate through called media gatekeepers. According to the book Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox, there are 5 things to keep in mind that will help you meet the requirements of media gatekeepers.

1) Understanding news values

2) Targeting the right media with your information

3)Thinking continuously about the interests of the readers or listeners

4) Keeping in mind the objectives of the client or employer

and…

5) Exercising creativity in thinking about how to present information that will meet the requirements of the media gatekeepers

In order to generate the type of media that catches the of media gatekeepers, you must be familiar with traditional news values such as:

Timeliness — One of the most important characteristics of news. In media timeliness is considered “immediacy”

Prominence — Using prominent people to attract media coverage. Movie stars, rock stars, professional athletes, a governor, astronaut, etc.

Proximity — An event may be of interest to local readers because it happened in or close to the community.

Significance — Any situation or event that can affect a substantial number of people is significant.

Unusualness — Out-of-the-ordinary events, a bizarre or rare occurrence, or people engaged in unusual activities are considered newsworthy.

Human Interest — People like to read about people and like stories about people who have special problems, achievements or experiences;profiles of people who have overcome difficulties or who seek to improve society inspire readers.

Conflict — Stories involving conflicts that people have with government or other people are often newsworthy, especially when the conflict reflects local problems.

Newness — Any news release announcing a new product or  service has a good chance of being published if you can convince a journalist that it is truly “new”.

 

Sources:

Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method by Carole Rich

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