Most people, whether they work in the news industry or simply read it as audience members, have a fairly good idea of what makes a story “newsworthy.” There are some basic characteristics that most people understand, such as timeliness, drama, consequence and proximity. These concepts can help to inform news stories and make them more interesting for audiences.
Timeliness is a critical factor in determining the newsworthiness of an event. It is important to get the news to the audience as quickly and clearly as possible. It does little good for a newspaper to report on a story that happened a week ago; the community has moved on and is interested in other things. It is equally important to have a sense of what events are already being covered by the competition. In addition to getting the news to readers quickly, it is essential that the information be accurate.
The next thing to consider is the type of audience for which a story is intended. This will help to determine the format and how much background information is included. For example, a story about a natural disaster is likely to be more dramatic and impactful than a story about a local government scandal. This is because the public is interested in the potential to affect their lives in a very personal way.
Many of the stories that appear in newspapers and magazines, on television and radio and on the Internet are dramatic in nature. The fact that they are dramatic means that there are usually clear and identifiable good and bad characters and situations. For example, a robbery at a convenience store is more newsworthy than a burglary in an apartment building because it makes clear who are the good guys (the robbers) and who are the bad guys (the people inside the store).
Conflict is another characteristic of newsworthy events. It is human nature to take interest in confrontation among individuals, groups and nations. This is why so many people watch war stories on TV and read about them in the newspaper.
Magnitude is also a significant factor in determining the newsworthiness of events. The greater the loss of life, damage or a natural disaster the more impact the story will have. Similarly, the more prominence of the person involved in an event the more interest it will generate.
Surprise is also a characteristic of newsworthy events. This is because humans are always looking for something different and unusual. A frog bites a man is not newsworthy, but the same occurrence in a remote part of the world is newsworthy because it is unusual and unexpected. Having a mixture of these elements in a news article will help to make it more interesting and thereby more likely to be shared by audience members through social media. It is also worth trying to vary the media sources from which you receive your news on a regular basis. This will give you a broader understanding of how news is presented in different media and might even make you more open-minded in the way you view the world.