By: Samantha Jarman, PR Executive
How do you know if your pitch or story idea is actually newsworthy? You may think it’s newsworthy but is it going to be newsworthy to your target journalists or reporters?
You need to think about one main question when pitching your story: is your story interesting and relevant to the journalist’s audience? If so, then it’s probably newsworthy. There are a few criteria topics journalists usually follow when deciding to cover a news story that can help you determine whether or not your pitch is newsworthy, before sending to your target media contacts.
The first criteria topic is timing. Timely story topics are ones that are new or current. While the story topic doesn’t have to be “breaking news,” it should refer to a current event or offer something new to the audience to be considered timely.
Significance is how and whether the story affects its audience. How is the story relevant or interesting? Does the story relay events or information that will impact its audience? Are there a large number of people who are affected by the story?
Proximity generally refers to geographical proximity but can also apply to social or cultural proximity. Events that occur in the area of the audience will always have more significance. Similarly, stories that involve events that relate closely to us or are otherwise close to our hearts can also be newsworthy.
Human interest is the comprehensive criteria for all other stories that will be interesting to an audience. Stories that are unique, enthralling, inspirational, amusing, entertaining or otherwise have an emotional impact or appeal will all meet the standard for human interest.
The last criteria topic, prominence goes along with the human interest criteria topic. People are more interested in famous people than in non-famous people. When the President of the United States has an affair, it's front-page news. This is why realty television shows featuring famous people are often more famous than fiction television shows with non-famous actors.
Not every pitch or story idea you have is going to meet all five of these criteria topics but if your story meets at least a few of these, you should feel confident sending out a newsworthy pitch.