What is Newsworthy?
One of the most important questions to ask before publishing a story, tweet, news article, blog posts, etc, is whether or not the content will be interesting to your audience. Before you even put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) the first thing to figure out is how newsworthy your story really is. What makes something newsworthy? Thank goodness there’s a study for that! If you’re into that kinda thing, you can read it on allacadamia.com. However, we have rounded up the top 7 best news values for your skimming pleasure. If your story has at least one of these values you are more likely to capture the attention of your audience.
How new is the story? Just think about it- the word “news” denotes that the information given is, in fact, new. Something timely is happening right now and it is something the public has yet to hear about. People lose interest incredibly quickly thanks to the immediacy of the internet. Therefore, the most impactful story will be about things happening right now, not yesterday or last week. Staying up to date on current events and popular trends help to point out the most important stories for you to cover.
Some words that could replace “impact” are collision, crash, bang, jolt, whack, and smack! When the reader comes in contact with your story it should hit them harder than Monday hits after the weekend. How is this story going to affect your audience? What will happen if the reader doesn’t take action on an issue? If you answer these questions in your story, it will be hard for your audience not to pay attention.
Location! Location! Location! Your audience wants to hear about things happening near them. It is not as effective if your story has to do with something/someone in another state or country. Even though the world has gotten smaller (thank you internet) we are still more likely to care about something happening in our town than in another place.
4. Human Interest
Two words. Emotional reaction! Nothing is more newsworthy than a story that stirs up an emotional response from the reader. (We’ve discussed the best emotions that trigger responses in an earlier blog post). Human interest stories are the perfect vessel for connecting with your audience.
Human Interest Story Ideas:
- Rags to Riches
- Behind the Scenes (BTS)
It’s human nature to be drawn to conflict. Think politics and religion – they are surely talked about frequently. We are glued to our TVs and Twitters during political elections and most everyone has an opinion about religion. Conflict makes a story interesting and worth following.
Imagine your reading Harry Potter, and Voldemort decided to call it a day and never bother Harry. There would be no story to read. It would just be a boy going to school. Without conflict, a story is- to be honest- boring. SPOILER ALERT: Voldermort does, indeed, torment Harry time and time again. And boy, am I grateful he does because we got 7 incredible books out of it!
6. Shock Appeal
Just as a snowstorm in the Sahara Desert would capture the attention of the entire world, anything that could be labeled rare or bizarre is immediately newsworthy. News Journalists have a saying, “When a dog bites a man, no one cares. When the man bites back- now that’s a story.” Find yourself a dog-biting man and you’ve found yourself a newsworthy story. (FYI: We do not condone the biting of dogs. ‘Twas but a metaphor.)
Who would you rather attend dinner with, Kim Mayfield or Ellen Degeneres? A well-known person, like Ellen, has a stronger news angle than someone who isn’t well known like Kim (Hi, Mom!). A story becomes immediately newsworthy if a big name is attached to it. However, prominence doesn’t have to apply only to those who are famous worldwide. The mayor of your town may not be famous but if there is a story about them, it becomes more newsworthy to you.
Things To Pay Attention To
While a story with just one of these values would be newsworthy, it would be even more influential with more than one. If you seem to have caught the writer’s block, keep the following in mind.
- Current events
- Fake Holidays
- Current Trends
Those four topics are automatically newsworthy. They are a good place to start and easy to build off of. Keep it real. Keep it simple. Keep it newsworthy! You’ll thank us later.