What drives news coverage more than anything else? What determines whether a story leads a newscast, gets buried on page 25 or doesn't get covered at all?
The simple answer is news value. How much news value or newsworthiness an issue or event has will determine how much interest the media will pay to it.
So, how do you determine news value? Another great question. Defining news has always been highly subjective. What's important to one editor may get a yawn from another. What winds up on the front page of one paper may get only a couple of paragraphs in another.
To help you out, here are three characteristics of news that tend to generate more interest on the part of reporters, editors and producers. If your story fits any one of them, you're chances of coverage rise dramatically.
Many news stories offer some level of conflict -- between opposing political viewpoints, personalities or organizations. People are apt to say some pretty outrageous things. Even though we may not like conflict, the fact that it exists often sparks media interest.
Like conflict, the media love to report on controversial issues and topics. It might be a new study that throws cold water on conventional thinking. It could be a new marketing concept that's misunderstood. Controversial stories drive news coverage.
When you have two firms or two candidates duking it out, that competition attracts media like a moth to flame. The media love to see the underdog take on an established leader. They love to see others react to the battle. They love to declare winners and losers.
The more your story has of any of these elements, the greater your chances of attracting media interest. The less you have, the tougher it will be. This doesn't mean you should try to manufacture something that doesn't exist on its own, but to understand why you may be having trouble getting anyone to notice your announcement.
Learning how the media works, thinks and reacts is half the battle in successful media relations.
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