What Makes a Good News Story?


When preparing a story or column, look for the following elements in your research, outreach or creative activity.

• Does the research offer a new solution to a universal problem?

• For a winning pitch to the media, consider presenting an encouraging story about how your research is breaking new ground against a stubborn problem.

• Are you doing something no one has ever done before?

• The press is often interested in first-ever stories, especially first-in-the-nation stories. If you have a legitimate claim to innovation, this is the heart of the pitch.

• What is the human interest angle?

• All good news stories are human-interest stories. Who are the people affected by a program? Who are the faculty or staff participants with interesting accomplishments or stories of courage and ingenuity?

• Does the story illustrate a larger problem or situation in society?

• Are you involved in something that has larger community or societal significance? Does the story relate to, or broaden, a story already in the news? Being the local angle of a national news story is often a good way to get media attention.

• Does your story have strong visual elements?

• Television must have strong visual elements to tell any story, and all newspaper and magazine stories need good photographs to illustrate the subject.