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What Makes Something Newsworthy? Mrs. Riley Writers Workshop.

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Presentation on theme: "What Makes Something Newsworthy? Mrs. Riley Writers Workshop."— Presentation transcript:

1 What Makes Something Newsworthy? Mrs. Riley Writers Workshop

2 What is Newsworthiness? Newsworthiness is the term we use to describe whether or not a topic is interesting enough for people to want to know about it. We call this having good news judgment when a reporter knows what kinds of stories will be of interest to his or her audience.

3 What Makes Something Newsworthy? There are eight basic elements that make a story newsworthy. The more elements a story contains, the more newsworthy it is. In general a good news story contains at least 3 elements of newsworthiness.

4 The Eight Basic Elements of Newsworthiness TimelinessProximityRelevanceImpact Conflict Novelty Prominence Human Interest

5 Timeliness Timeliness relates to the newness of the facts. The more recent the event or situation, the more likely it is to be newsworthy. Timeliness can be an issue for school newspapers that come out several times a year. Hard news stories emphasize timeliness.

6 If this house fire happened today, it would be timely. If it happened last month, it is not.

7 Proximity Proximity refers to the nearness of a given event to your place of publication. Events occurring in your school generally have more news value than those occurring on the other side of the world. Reporters are always looking for a local angle to a national news story because it will make a story that seems far away tie in to your readership.

8 S tudents raising money to help aid earthquake and tsunami relief would resonate with more readers that just writing a general story about the earthquake in Japan. The added element of proximity concerning the local students makes the story more interesting.

9 Relevance Relevance refers to the story mattering to your readers. What stories are relevant will depend on your readership. Community newspapers will cover events of particular interest to the community. School newspapers will look at issues and events relating to teens and may ignore other local issues that students will not care about.

10 What Could be Relevant Teen Issues? HomeworkSportsFashionDepressionBullying Social Networking Facebook Twitter Instagram Movies Eating Disorders

11 Impact The term impact refers to how many people are affected by issues covered in the story. We say a story has a higher potential impact if the topic is relevant to a larger percentage of the audience.

12 The Clayton School Board has decided not to cut the after school strings program that is offered in its elementary schools. After this year, all students will be required to take an end of the year assessment in all core subjects. Every student in Clayton has to take the year end assessments. In contrast, only 50 or so students will be affected by the string program still being offered. While both stories are interesting. The story about assessment will have more impact.

13 Conflict Conflict involves tension, surprise and suspense. Everyone loves a good fight. Anything that involves a struggle is of interest to readerswar, elections, sports. People are intuitively drawn to conflict. Anything with a winner or a loser has conflict.

14 Man vs. WomanPerson vs. Nature Nation vs. NationPerson vs. Machine

15 Novelty If something is out of the ordinary, it may be newsworthy just because of that fact. The strange or unusual is fascinating to many readers. Its a reporters job to find an angle on a story that may be told a lot that will make it fresh so the story contains some novelty.

16 A day after Capt. Sully Sullenberger made an emergency landing of a plane in the Hudson River in New York, everyone knew the basic facts: The plane hit a flock of birds during take off, both engines blew out, the captain had no choice but to land, everyone made it to safety. The topic was still interesting to people, but they already knew the basic facts. New stories focused on the bravery of the captain, the individual experiences of the crew, even the experiences of the rescue workers. These stories contained more novelty for readers than another story of why the plane went down.

17 Prominence Prominence refers to the newsworthiness of an individual or organization. Basically, the more well- known an individual is involved in the story, the more newsworthy a story is. Examples of this are stories about celebrities, politicians and royals. Examples of this are stories about celebrities, politicians and royals.


19 Human Interest Human interest stories appeal to emotion. They cause the reader to laugh, cry, to feel emotion, they tickle the funny bone, cause feelings of sorrow or pity, or amazement. Human interest stories deal with the qualities of love, hate, compassion, sympathy, curiosity, anger and grief. Everyone has a story. It is a reporters job to find it and convey it effectively.

20 In the 1980s, baby Jessica was stuck in a well for 58 hours. The nation was captivated by the struggle to free her. After not being able to afford her own prom dress, alumni Sarah Smith starts a charity that donates dresses to girls who cant afford them for dances. A son and father are reunited after being estranged from each other for a number of years.

21 How Newsworthy is This? As you consider the newsworthiness of each article, first think about the audience, their location and their needs. Then think about the categories of newsworthiness. Remember that the more elements of newsworthiness a story has, the better. A good news story should have at least three elements.

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