Thursday, October 11, 2012


         Blogging about newsworthiness in public relations and journalism is, ironically, not particularly 'newsworthy' itself.  Rather than spewing the seven elements of a newsworthy story (timeliness, significance, proximity, conflict, human interest, surprise, consequence), I thought I'd talk about why an orange (yes, orange), is like a newsworthy story.
 Why an orange? Oranges are fresh, slightly acidic, immune-boosting, bright, shareable, and multi-dimensional.  I have yet to meet someone who dislikes oranges. 

FRESH: If a news story pitched by a public relations pro isn't fresh, reporters are not likely to cover it.  Journalists want NEWS, not OLDs.  Writing a pitch about a longstanding program at your organization with no new information or new happenings will not result in media coverage. 

ACIDIC: A good pitch will jump out at you and surprise you.  As Matt Mulcahy (NBC3 News Syracuse) said in his lecture to our class yesterday, "Don't be the 200th email in the inbox of the Post-Standard."  If a reporter is scanning 200+ emails each day, he/she will likely skim past (and delete) a pitch that is not surprising or has a bit of a bite to it. 

GOOD FOR YOU: Just as the vitamin C in oranges helps boost our immune systems, a good story will contain some sort of value to its potential readership.  It can give important information about an important event or do a public service by spreading awareness about a cause or risk.  If a story will not do its readers some kind of service, it may not be picked up by the media.

BRIGHT: Does your story have some element of human interest or unique angle that will catch a reporter's (not to mention a reader's) eye? If not, time to go back to the drawing board.  At a grocery store full of green veggies, those bright oranges look a lot more appealing than that boring broccoli.

DYNAMIC: Just as oranges can be peeled to reveal new layers of juicy goodness, a good story pitch is a multi-dimensional, moving piece of information.  If the entirety of the story, and its implications for the public, is apparent on its face, it is simply not a good story.    

SHAREABLE: For those of us who grew up playing youth soccer on fields across America, we know that oranges are unique in their ability to be shared.  Slice them up and share them with your friends, without compromising the integrity of the delicious fruit.  Just like oranges, a good story is easily shared and passed along.  Particularly in today's social media age, the 'shareability' of a news story is paramount to its success.  Journalists want to write stories that will encourage readers to hit "Tweet This" and expand the reach of the news outlet, so we must write pitches than lend themselves to such shareable stories. 

So, my fellow PR pros: write pitches like oranges.  Make them fresh, acidic, good for you, bright, dynamic and shareable.  Then sit back, and peel yourself an orange, because you deserve a reward for your hard PR work! 

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