Chapter 10: Finding and Making News
An internship or other newsroom experience also cements your understanding of the news values media use to choose what stories to publish. In the public relations role, you can look for stories that have strong news value or draw connections that create newsworthy content.
- Pitch new information or events
- Relate company information to breaking or current news, anniversaries of important events, or holidays
- Find something new that hasn’t been covered before or find new uses for old products
- Embrace a thought leader as a spokesperson
- Tie information to someone with star power
- Seek local connections and angles
- Tailor messages and angles for the readership of different news outlets
- Honestly assess what company news affects a substantial number of people and what those effects are
- Look for “nuggets” you haven’t heard before or things that are out of the ordinary
- Humanize your story – people like to hear about other people
- Different views are fun – controversy fuels discussion and stimulates the mind
The priority of these news values shifts based on the media outlet. Familiarize yourself with any media outlets you plan to pitch as well as the nature of their readers or viewers so that you only reach out with potential news stories that fit their format and audience.
Media interest also can be attracted by:
- Special events
- Contests and giveaways
- Polls, surveys or other data
- Top ten lists
- Publicity stunts
- Rallies and protests
- Anniversaries or milestones
- Babies, puppies and chocolate cake (ok, this one may be just the opinion of one former colleague but it certainly does seem to hold true over the years)
But keep in mind that reporters and their editors don’t like to feel used or tricked. They might not cover events that seem arranged only to generate news. They key is to be creative and fresh enough that they will define what you are doing as legitimate news according to their definitions.