Chapter 4: News Value

20 News value and the strategic communication professional

While watching or listening to a major media network, you may occasionally find yourself thinking, “Why is this story considered news?” Audiences assume that the role of the media is to provide them with the most important information about issues and events happening locally, nationally, and worldwide. Therefore, media outlets send an indirect message to audiences about a story’s perceived importance through selection and how much time and exposure they give the story.

A story’s newsworthiness is largely determined by its news value, a standard that determines whether an event or situation is worth media attention. News value is referred to as “criteria used by media outlets to determine whether or not to cover a story and how much resources it should receive” (Kraft, 2015). Journalists and reporters are likely to spend their limited time and resources on a story that has many news values.

Strategic communication professionals who understand what constitutes newsworthy content will increase their chances of gaining media coverage for their brand or organization. In fact, there is a saying that “the most successful public relations professionals are those who think and act like reporters” (Caruso, 2011, para. 1). Because journalists are more interested in stories that will appeal to their readers or listeners, understanding the news value of your messages will help to enhance your company’s media relations and general coverage.

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