by Terri Reddout
Before we can start talking and writing news we need to know what news is. Generally, a picture of the family cat is NOT news. Unless the family cat kept mewing and clawing at the neighbor’s door and that woke them up so they got out of the house before it burned down to the ground. Now your family cat IS newsworthy!
There really isn’t a magic formula for determining what news is. I wish! If there were, I’d bottle it up, sell it for a hefty price and retire someplace where temperatures are in the low 80s and bare-chested men bring me drinks with little umbrellas in them all day long. (I can dream, can’t I?)
Which stories should we cover? What story leads the newscast? What story goes above the fold? Which story goes below the fold or on page 3? Do we commit a reporter and a photographers to this story? Or do we commit the entire news team?
These are all tough questions, with a lot of variables you must factor in. But… there are some guidelines to help us determine what is NOT newsworthy, what is newsworthy, and just how newsworthy a story is. You’ll find various versions of these guidelines around the business, but they are generally combinations or more precise divisions of these seven qualities or factors.