So you want to start covering stories as a reporter,maybe as a student working on a school paper or as acitizen journalist writing for a website or blog.But how do you decidewhat is newsworthy?
Over the years editors, reporters and journalism professors have come up with a list of factors or criteria that help journalists decide whether something is newsworthy or not.
They can also help you decide HOW newsworthy something is. Generally, the more of the factors below that can be applied to your event or story, the more newsworthy it’s bound to be.
Generally, the greater the impact a story has, the more newsworthy it is. Events that have an impact on your readers, that have real consequences for their lives, are bound to be newsworthy.
An obvious example would be the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In how many ways have all of our lives been affected by the events of that day? The greater the impact, the bigger the story.
If you look closely at the stories that make news in any given day, chances are most of them will have some element of conflict. Whether it’s a dispute over banning books at a local school board meeting, bickering over budget legislation in Congress, or the ultimate conflict – war – conflict is almost always newsworthy.
Conflict is newsworthy because as human beings we’re naturally interested in conflict.
Think of any book you’ve ever read or movie you’ve ever watched – they all had some type of conflict. Without conflict, there would be no literature or drama. Conflict is what propels the human drama.
At the first, the council passes its annual budget unanimously with little or no argument. In the second, there is violent disagreement. Some council members want the budget to provide more city services, while others want a bare-bones budget with tax cuts.Which story is more interesting?
WHY? Conflict! Conflict is so interesting to us as humans that it can even make an otherwise dull-sounding story – the passage of a city budget – into something utterly gripping. And the ultimate conflict – war – is always a huge story.