What makes something news?

How do you decide if one story is “newsworthy” over another?

Proximity is a large factor; it proves more relevant to your target audience, and captures their attention more than it would if said story were taking place in some far away land.

The recentness of the news is equally important. Whether the readers are being told what is going on around them, or staying updated on an event that they were previously aware of — people like to be kept in the loop. The stories that you choose to tell will have a stronger impact on your audience if they are fresh events.

Similar to the strategy of click bait — if a story is shocking, strange, or bizarre, it is more likely to capture the attention of your readers.

Impact is another big factor when trying to decide if a story is worthy or not. Does this particular story in question matter to your target audience? If the story has no impact on them or the people close to them, they are less likely to care about what is being said.

Lastly, most people are more interested in bad news than good news. An article published in 2016 by Psychology Today, explains that bad news has a stronger impact on our minds. This explains why many readers are more prone to click on the mass murder story than the happy-go-lucky alternative.

Journalism LU ‘21

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