The Elements of Newsworthiness
4. Possible Future Impact (Progress or Consequence)
6. Human Interest
7. Shock/Bizarre Value
1. Timeliness: It is called news for a reason. It's new information. The more recent something happened, the more it will interest readers. Changes to the LASA schedule were really interesting and unbelievable two weeks ago, but now, it's old news. It's really not talked about anymore. News websites are reliant on new information all of the time, but for a magazine, the timeliness factor has to be considered way in advance. We have to ask ourselves, "Will this story be relevant when the magazine is published?"
2. Proximity: If something is close to us, it is very likely to matter to us. The fires in Bastrop were very newsworthy to us, because we were less than thirty miles away AND it is a community that we care about. Also, we could see the plumes of smoke from some of our balconies. Our community came together and raised money and our news stations covered the affects this fire had on us for days. And they are still covering it. That is what proximity means. But, there is also relative proximity. If things are happening to teachers in the nation, I'd probably be interested since that is my profession and the field is something very close to me.
3. Conflict: What happens when we see two people in the hall start to yell at each other? There's always someone who'll yell out, "Fight! Fight! Fight!" It is human nature to be interested in a situation where two people don't see eye to eye. Conflicts are newsworthy because we want to know who's winning and who said what. And let's not forget that it is also human nature to pick sides and stand up for one party. Find yourself a conflict and you've got a newsworthy story...
4. Possible future impact (Progress or Consequence): If something is happening right now that means we will either progress or suffer a consequence, it's pretty newsworthy.
5. Prominence: One year, Matthew McConaughey came to our school to work out with our after school fitness program as part of an initiative to help schools realize the importance of working out to stay healthy. It was the news of the week. Do you really think it would have lasted beyond mention if it were someone from 24 Hour Fitness? Hmm...What happens to important people is important to us. If my neighbor gets a DWI over the weekend, he won't make the 5 o'clock news, but if the mayor does, that's a whole other story.
6. Human interest: Humans like hearing about other humans interacting, living, being, experiencing. News like this makes us smile and really exists for the sake of telling the stories and showing the lives of the human race, which is interesting. Seriously. And, because we are animal lovers and pet owners, our furry friends might make the news, too. Examples might be a story about an unlikely student winning an award, a look inside a family's experience in the Bastrop fires, or someone who survived an accident and is now competing in an Olympic sport.
7. Shock value: Is it weird? Bizarre? Shocking? You can bet media consumers want to know more. Remember Octo-Mom? How about Jaycee Dugard? What about the 16-pound newborn? Stories like this have no impact on our lives, but manage to fuel our curiousity for more extraordinary details.
Within your groups: For each element of newsworthiness, find a news story or feature story example. Present to the class.