Chapter 4: Finding and Making News


This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox

The Challenge of Making News:

  • The main purpose of any public relations program is to provide information to the media in hope that it will be published or broadcast, resulting in publicity.
  • Effective publicists need to know three things:
    • They must be thoroughly familiar with traditional journalistic news values.
    • The must know where to find news and how to select the angle that will be most interesting to journalists and the public.
    • They must be problem solvers and come up with creative publicity tactics that effectively break through a forest of competing messages.
  • Obstacles:
    • media gatekeeper
    • incredibly shrinking news hole
    • the reality that the traditional mass media is now fragmented, and it is no longer possible to reach the larger public through a single medium

What Makes News:

  • Timeliness – may be the most important characteristic; news must be current
  • Prominence – the news media rarely cover the grand opening of a store or anything else unless there is a prominent person with star power involved.
  • Proximity – surveys have shown that the news release most acceptable to media gatekeepers are those with local angles
  • Significance – any situation or even that can affect a substantial number of people is significant
  • Unusualness – anything out of the ordinary attracts press interest and public attention
  • Human interest – people like to read about other people
  • Conflict – when two or more groups advocate different views on a topic of current interest,this creates news
  • Newness – advertising and marketing people say that the two words they find most useful are “new” and “free”

How to Find News:

  • Internal News Sources:
    • Important papers
    • Periodicals
    • Clipping files
    • Other published materials
  • External News Sources:
    • Op-ed – opposite the editorial page. A page that contains the views and opinions of individuals who are not on the staff of the newspaper.

How to Create News:

  • There are many outlets and areas that news can be created in.
    • Brainstorming
    • Special events
    • Contests
    • Polls and surveys
    • Top 10 Lists
    • product demonstrations
    • Stunts
    • Rallies and protests
    • Personal Appearances
    • Awards
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Filed under Chapter Notes, PRCA 3330

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