What is Newsworthiness? Journalism Tips for Creating Relevant Stories

Jerz > Writing > Journalism

What makes something newsworthy?

  • Extraordinary events are more newsworthy than ordinary ones.
  • Notable people are more newsworthy than ordinary ones.
  • Something that has a significant impact is more newsworthy than something with a slight impact.
  • Something that impacts more people is more newsworthy than something that impacts few people.
  • Something that is local, or relevant to a significant number of local people, is more newsworthy than something that is or seems remote.
  • A recent story is more newsworthy than a stale story.

Few news stories will be equally newsworthy for every one of the criteria listed above. It may be enough if the story meets just one criterion.

For examples, such as this one my student Rebecca Scassellati drew (depicting the pope losing a clone of George Washington in a vending machine), listen to this 9-minute audio podcast.

Boring: “Random Person Loses Dollar in Vending Machine”. Newsworthy: “Pope Loses Clone of George Washington in Vending Machine”

 

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “What is Newsworthiness? Journalism Tips for Creating Relevant Stories

  1. I’ve never put much thought into the what makes a story newsworthy. All articles that I have read were because the head line caught my attention due to its abnormality or a celebrity was being discussed. The components that go into making a story newsworthy range from, the people involved, location, timing, and it can actually be considered news. This podcast makes you think about all the news stories that aren’t published simply because they are considered newsworthy.

  2. People don’t want to listen to a news story that is ordinary. I never realized that I am one of those people until now. And as writing and becoming a journalist, I never realized there could be a “bad story”. And depending on where you live and the information you include, you can make a story newsworthy. You don’t want to include details that chase the watcher or reader away, but instead include true and interesting detail that leaves the audience wanting more.

  3. As Dr. Jerz was saying in his podcast, ordinary events are not newsworthy. From my experience as a student journalist, I believe journalist have the self-accountability to make those ordinary stories newsworthy. I have come to learn with the advice from Dr. Jerz that newsworthy quotes inside of an ordinary story makes the article better as long as it still stays objective. Also, I think that when an event happens that is relevant to a lot or fewer people that journalist must be aware of the audience.

  4. I never really thought about how some many different ways there are to write the same story. How just by leaving out a few details or even sprinkling some misinformation into a story can make it totally different. What people value as being news worthy is also different. Someone who’s into video games might want constant updates about the newest systems and the best games to play, while someone who is more into animals might want news about different animal populations growing and expanding. News is one of those things that is everywhere. No matter where you go you’re being told it, you just have to use your own skills and knowledge to find out and understand what you yourself see as news worthy.

  5. What Jerz says in his podcast is very interesting because it points out what large audiences are most likely to be interested in today, especially when he discusses what’s newsworthy in different areas. Large cities tend to have more odd and important happenings on a daily basis as opposed to a smalltown. The odd and terrifying may not be what the audience of a smalltown wants to see all the time and these happenings are few and far in between, causing a lot more fluff pieces. The idea of the news is very subjective to its audience.

  6. I’ve never studied journalism. While listening to this podcast, I realized that I haven’t really seen any examples of “bad journalism” (unless specifically shown an example) because those works don’t get published or they don’t circulate well. Having an idea about the categories I should try and satisfy, such as extraordinary events, extraordinary people, and timing of events, allows me to flesh out ideas for future projects. However, I also feel that what is extraordinary to me may not be what is extraordinary to other people as I have many niche interests, so I have to find a balance between what interests me and what interests others.

  7. Dr. Jerz says in his podcast that something has to be new to the audience in order for it to be newsworthy. I think that is why more extraordinary events are beings used in news publications today. It’s harder to find events that are newsworthy today because people have been exposed to so much and their attention is drawn to more unique happenings.

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