SIDS Program Manual SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide Trainer's Guide

Public Relations & the Media

News Values

Public Relations & the Media

“So what?”

This is a question that reporters often ask themselves and one that you should ask yourself as well. Reporters want to know why they should care about what you are telling them and, in essence, why their audience should care. Although seemingly harsh, asking yourself, “So what?” can help you find what makes your story newsworthy.

The more news values your story hits, the more likely you are to get media attention. News values are often intertwined. Proximity and impact often work together as do controversy and emotion. By examining the obvious news values your story has, you can tie in other ones that will make your story as appealing as possible.

For example, you have an upcoming training on SIDS risk reduction geared toward child care providers. The obvious news values here are proximity (it is local) and timeliness (it is soon/has not yet happened). This may or may not get you attention depending on how much of a slow news day it is.

With a little work, you can easily make the story have high impact, emotion and proximity. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your State’s infant mortality rate?
  • What is your area’s infant mortality rate?
  • How many babies in your area die every year of SIDS?
  • Do you know any local families that have been personally affected by SIDS?
  • Do you know any local child care providers that have dealt with a SIDS death firsthand?

Include in your press release local—as well as national—infant mortality and SIDS statistics. Explain how your training will save local babies.

Also, put a human face on your training. If you have a SIDS relative or child care provider, doctor or trainer who dealt with a SIDS death and is willing to share his or her story with the media, use that resource.