Sunday, January 17, 2010

What, exactly, is "News"?

A journalist pal said to me the other day "If only people who wrote press releases understood what news is, we'd all have a much easier life". I know what she meant. I've seen thousands of press releases that contained no news whatsoever, despite (or perhaps because of) being carefully constructed and edited by PR companies and their clients. No disrespect to PR professionals by the way, I've been a member of the Chartered Institute of PR for years)

So, here's my "what is news" check-list. If your PR material doesn't contain most of these, don't bother sending it out.

* Interest, especially human interest
* Current. Is it happening now?
* Local. Is it happening here?
* Scale. Does it have an impact on many people?
* High profile. Are there some big names, whether companies or people, involved?
* Conflict. Are there opposing forces or opinions?
* Drama. Is it compelling, such as a disaster or overcoming the odds?

That's news.