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BlogWhat Makes a Story Newsworthy

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Media relations training.

What Makes a Story Newsworthy

Elevating Your Content for Media Relations

When it comes to public relations, communicating with journalists is an essential part of that work. You want your stories to be covered in the press. This helps your organization share key messages and spread positive sentiment. But earned coverage is not an easy feat.

Your media relations success hinges on your ability to tell newsworthy stories – stories journalists want to share. It can’t be too advertorial, nor can it be too top-line with no “meat” in the story.

But instead of telling you what it shouldn’t be, we’re here to put on our journalist’s hats and share about news values. What are news values? They are the considerations journalists keep in mind when determining if a story is actually newsworthy. If you utilize these, you’re setting your organization up for better PR success.

Here are the news values you should consider next time you want to share a story with the media. The AMPERAGE Public Relations team looks for at least a few of these qualities in stories before pitching:


Why does this story need to be shared now? You should tie your story to a point in time that quickly conveys why it’s relevant now. Even if your target outlet is a bi-monthly publication, you have to showcase why this story is relevant to their audience for immediate publication or near-future publication. There are many ways to make a story timely – relating it to an ongoing trend, tying it to a season or holiday, or establishing its recency.


You may think you have a great story, but if it doesn’t impact your target audience, then it isn’t newsworthy. The stories you share with the media need to have an impact on those outlets’ audiences. The greater the impact, the better. That’s something that is key when pitching media.


If a new restaurant opens over an hour away from where you live, your local paper likely won’t share that. If a new restaurant opens in your community, your local paper is likely to share that. It’s this simple: readers and viewers care about things that are happening near them. When you’re talking about national products or B2B communications, you would think about impact vs proximity.


Why does a celeb get in the news when getting groceries and you don’t get in the news for the same errand? Unless you’re a celebrity reading this, chances are you’re not making news for simple everyday tasks. Public figures are basically automatically newsworthy. As an organization, part of your public relations efforts will be to establish prominence and showcase why the media will want to talk to you – even if it’s just prominence in your local community or within your industry.


We love the drama. This is where your storytelling efforts are crucial. Showcase the conflict to make your stories more newsworthy. Start with a problem. Then, show how your organization provided the solution. This is where case studies become great assets.


What makes the story unusual? This is simply the story that makes you say, “reality is stranger than fiction.” Don’t worry if that’s not the case. You don’t need all the news values to be newsworthy, but showcasing something unusual or that defies the norm will only help your story.

Human Interest

Humans are emotional beings, so the more your story pulls on the heartstrings, the better. A story that evokes emotion would fall into the human interest category. These are your features. They may not be as timely, but they usually showcase someone overcoming a conflict (ding, ding – another news value) and pack an emotional punch.


This is a fancy way of saying trending. So many things impact trends, and this is why it’s important to be in tune with your target audience. If a topic keeps coming up in your target outlets, how can your story comment on it or weigh in? Remember, stay true to your brand and don’t go off-brand in pursuit of a trend. Only play into this if it’s a natural fit.

If you have questions about amplifying your media relations efforts and developing a public relations strategy or you’re looking to partner with marketing professionals who can move the needle for your organization, contact AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising at 319.268.9151 or

Written by:

Sarah’s public relations and media relations credentials are a great fit for clients looking to strategically establish, grow or strengthen their brands through media. Her media experience ranges from local exposure for smaller organizations to media events, promotion and placement for internationally known entities among some of the most respected names in the world of media. Specializing in earned media placement, Sarah also supports clients with next-level communications, content development, event/media management and authentic storytelling. Her background in PR and communications extends to a wide variety of industries and areas of focus, allowing her to quickly home in on a client’s needs, create a strategic plan and execute tactics designed to deliver results and kudos.