News is constantly evolving within the 24 hour news cycle and as we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, one topic can take precedent and dominate for some time.
But within a typical news day, there needs to be a variety of topics to keep people informed about the community they live in and now more than ever, positive stories are just as important. Storytelling has been at the essence of what makes us human, we share stories about our past, and stories about our future – communication is at the core of who we are.
News stories can be about many different topics like politics, policing, law, farming and even a business launching a new product, but a story that’s captivating for one community, may not be newsworthy for another.
Everything can be news, not everything is newsworthy. So what makes your story worth telling and will a journalist pick it up?
There are a few values to that contribute to a news story according to Murray Masterton’s A Theory of News:
- Human Interest
These values can help businesses decide whether it’s worth reaching out to a journalist in the first place. Businesses can have amazing stories to tell, however these stories can often be overlooked because it’s something the business does every day.
If you looked a little broader and thought about the novelty, human interest or impact your business or service could have on your wider community, you might find you have an incredible story to tell.
So ask yourself these questions: Do I have a story? Could it have an impact on someone or is it significant to the region? Does it involve conflict? Does my story have a prominent figure involved? Does it evoke human interest? Is it new or rare? And what news outlet should I target – are they close enough?
Another key element is vision and while social-distancing might be making it harder for journalists to meet in person, there are creative ways to get your message across. Think about using a professional videographer to capture your story and the added bonus is that you can use the video for social media which will help broaden your audience too.
When I first started my career in journalism, I had a mentor who gave me the best advice of all about knowing whether a story is newsworthy – if it’s worth calling home about, you’re onto something!