The number one job of a public relations practitioner is providing information to the media. Before writing a piece for the news, one must consider the following:
- knowledge of the journalistic news values/criteria
- realize that the gatekeepers, such as reporters and editors pick what goes in the newspaper (maybe only part of your piece will be used)
- there is no longer substantial space in newspapers due to increased advertising and the Internet
- news is now tailored to different audiences
- information overload – all media are competing to get attention
The journalistic news values/criteria are what classifies as news. Timeliness and newness kind of go together. In a nutshell, the news must be CURRENT. It can be something that just happened, promoting a product, person, event, and holidays. Newness relates to the product portion. People want to know about new products that are coming out.
Sometimes a story gets attention just because a celebrity is part of that story. This is called prominence. A lot of times these individuals are in the story to draw attention to special events. This is usually classified as soft news. A story may also have proximity, a localize angle. Something that happens oversees can have significance in your town. Speaking of significance, that is another news value. For example, the blackout of thousands of sites last week against the Antipiracy Act affected a substantial amount of people.
Want to attract media and public interest? Try writing about something unusual. Think of the mailman biting the dog, rather than the dog biting the mailman. Write about famous people as stated earlier. This creates human interest. You can even write our troops coming home. We, as humans, like reading stories with emotions and that are heart-felt. We also like reading stories with conflict.
What kind of stories do you like to read about?