Newsworthiness in Public Relations

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I examined news stories on CNN and ABC News. The top news from both sites was about Sochi 2014 Olympics.  First, CNN has a news story about Tom Perkins’ suggesting that only taxpayers should have the right to vote on Thursday on the top of its front page. Then most of news stories are related to the winter Olympic games. ABC News had stories about Valentines’ day and people who were found dead or injured. Also, winter Olympic games were the top stories.

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I went to all nine sites to see the trends of news media. Most of them contained stories about what’s currently happening now.  All sites had a common stories about the Olympics and Valentines’ day.  There were a lot of feature stories about Valentines’ day, and most of stories related to Olympics included video clips. Those days, news stories are more focused on readers – stories about what public would be interested and read.  I think all stories are newsworthy because it is focused on the public’s interests.  If they covered more stories about politics and economics on their front pages, people would loose their interests on reading other articles and move their attention to other sites that contained more stories that are currently happening and grasping their attentions.

Public relations professionals should pitch stories based on public’s interests so that they can grasp more viewers.  There are some characteristics that make stories newsworthy.

1. Impact: The significance, importance, or consequence of an event or trend; the greater the consequence, and the larger the number of people for whom an event is important the greater the newsworthiness.

2. Timeliness: The more recent, the more newsworthy. In some cases, timeliness is relative. An event may have occurred in the past but only have been learned about recently.

3. Prominence: Occurrences featuring well-know individuals or institutions are newsworthy. Well-knownness may spring either from the power the person or institution possess – the president, the Speaker of the House of Representatives – or from celebrity – the late Princess Diana or fashion designer Gianni Versace.

4. Proximity: Closeness of the occurrence tot he audience may be gauged either geographically – close by events, all other things being equal, are more important than distant ones – or in terms of the assumed values, interest and expectations of the news audience.

5. The Bizarre: The unusual, unorthodox, or unexpected attracts attention. Boxer Mike Tyson’s disqualification for biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear moves the story from the sports pages and the end of a newscast tot he front pages and the top of the newscast.

6. Conflict: Controversy and open clashes are newsworthy, inviting attention on their own, almost regardless of what the conflict is over. Conflict reveals underlying causes of disagreement between individuals and institutions in a society.

7. Currency: Occasionally something becomes an idea whose time has come. The matter assumes a life of its own, and for a time assumes momentum in news reportage.

8. Human Interest: Those stories that have more of an entertainment factor versus any of the above – not that some of the other news values cannot have an entertainment value.

( Retrieved from http://vegeta.hum.utah.edu/communication/classes/news.html.)

Most of news sites are handling all these elements well.  Especially “ Human interest” is the key factor that makes news worthy. Today, more and more people value what they care about.  People sometimes think that human-interest stories disregard the main rules of newsworthiness, but I believe people tend to read stories that evoke responses and emotions. Those stories are appealing to emotions. Stories about Olympics and Valentines Day are on the front page of the sites, and these will make readers to be more interested in reading other types of news such as politics, economics and crimes.

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