Have you ever wondered why journalists choose to cover certain stories? What thought goes into deciding what makes the front page? And how can you avoid having your carefully crafted press release wind up in an editor’s wastebasket?

The answer is newsworthiness.

The concept of newsworthiness is elusive. It’s almost more of a feeling than a set of facts, and yet there seems some sort of journalistic decision-making scheme seems to be in place. To make things even more complex, newsworthiness is not static. What is considered newsworthy appears to morph depending on the overall news cycle, current state of the culture, and myriad  other vague factors.

Journalism schools teach newsworthiness as a composite of several key qualities. The exact criteria vary depending on whom you ask, but typically include these:

Impact: How does the story affect the audience? An example would be implementation of a new regulation that alters how an industry does business.

Timeliness: How recent is the information? Reporters are hungry for content, but it can’t be old news — and in today’s instant and internet-enabled world, “old” is an extremely relative term and will vary by news outlet. 

Proximity: There’s a reason why national news gets more coverage than international news and why local media won’t be interested in people and companies that are based outside their region.

Novelty: Nothing turns heads like the extraordinary or unusual.

Conflict: In an increasingly partisan society, conflict sells better than ever. Since conflict is the basis for litigation, law firm marketers and lawyers have to also consider how the other six ingredients fit in so they can determine newsworthiness.

Humanism: People appreciate being reminded of goodness in the world. Human interest stories leverage this aspect of human nature. 

Celebrity: There is a never-ending obsession with the famous, or infamous. For professional service providers, this could mean a prominent person in the profession. 

Professional services marketers should internalize these key points of newsworthiness to help identify a good firm story when it arises.

You can also make news yourself. Share significant professional achievements, accolades and thought leadership from your firm, as well as personal stories, to improve visibility on all levels. For example, starting a scholarship program (and the reason behind it) is not only generous, but also makes for a great human-interest piece. 

How Can Jaffe Help You Share Your Stories?

Jaffe’s media relations professionals are all experienced publicists, many of whom have journalism experience as editors and reporters. By knowing the inner workings of a newsroom, we help firms identify opportunities that can generate positive coverage, increase brand awareness and build reputational strength. With our digital marketing capabilities, we also can take the media impressions your firm generates and increase the return on your investment by sharing through digital channels and providing strategy-informing analytics.  

Interested in discussing how your firm can make the news? Want to learn more about Jaffe’s media relations capabilities? Contact Vivian Hood, CEO/Owner, Public Relations, at vhood@jaffepr.com.