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Public Relations & the Media

News Values

Public Relations & the Media

There are a handful of basic news values that the media uses to weigh stories. Included below are the major values:

Impact: The media care most about the things that affect their audience such as stories about local families.

Controversy: Anything controversial will bring media attention. The media loves a good fight because audiences love a good fight.

Emotion: Reporters are often told to find not just the facts, but the “human interest” angle to a story. They may be more interested in writing about the mother losing a baby as opposed to just infant mortality statistics. This news value is often easy to underutilize, but can be the value that gets you the attention when you otherwise would not.

The Unusual: The journalist’s cliché goes: When a dog bites a man it is not news, but when a man bites a dog, it is news.

Prominence: If you fall down the stairs, it is not news. If a politician or an actress falls down the stairs, it is. Big names count, even if they are just prominent in your community.

Proximity: Media outlets are on a constant mission to take national stories and “localize” them. Local families or individuals who are affected are much more interesting to media.

Timeliness: Newer is always better. Consider all the live coverage to which we are now exposed.

Educational: This is what people “should” know such as infant product safety recalls or new health promotion campaigns.