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The news and where to find it

An interesting comment on a Facebook ad we ran earlier this week (please excuse the irony of Chips Cheese Gravy paying for adverts) from the editor of Isle of Man Newspapers.

Letters by the editor

Isle of Man Newspapers Editor Richard Butt

He’s right – but the big question is what is newsworthy?

That’s exactly what we teach at CCG Media.

Richard Butt’s a very experienced journalist, and he’s appealing for people to get in touch with newsworthy stories. He points out how easy it is to get in touch, which is absolutely spot on.

But note – newsworthy.

Alfred Harmsworth

Viscount Northcliffe

What constitutes newsworthiness?

I’m not the biggest fan of the Daily Mail, even though I admit I’ve written the odd piece for them in the past.

Viscount Northcliffe, Alfred Harmsworth, owned both it and the Daily Mirror over the course of his tabloid career at the start of the last century.

He once said:

“When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”

Quite right, too. As the newsdesk saying goes: “nobody writes stories about planes that didn’t crash”.

Finding newsworthiness

Any journalist worth their salt wants an off-diary story, something nobody else has, that isn’t a press release or assigned to you by your boss. And it’s spotting newsworthiness that leads you to those stories.

If you’re a fan of Belgian university research, you can find a complex study here that tries to break down newsworthiness into a mathematical model. It’s probably for journalism and maths geeks only, though!

If your business wants to be in the news, how do you find that spark?

International banks with offices around the world? Easy. Have your top economist comment on the current financial outlook – preferably saying something controversial or interesting.

Politician? Easier still – do something with taxpayers’ money or say something that’ll start a debate.

But if you’re a hairdresser in Ramsey, or a garage in Port Erin, or a newsagent in Onchan, that newsworthiness is much harder to spot.

That’s where we come in.

Why would I want to be in the news?

Seriously? The last audited and publicly available circulation figures I can find for Isle of Man Newspapers are from 2013, when the Examiner was printing just under 10,000 copies a week and the Manx Independent just under 9,000.

That, though, doesn’t give a true audience figure because more than one person probably reads each copy (on average). The actual readership will be above that.

In 2013, the Courier was going out to 37,000 homes a week.

Publicly available audience statistics from the end of 2015 show Manx Radio has around 42,000 listeners a week. 3FM has in the region of 30,000 (Energy doesn’t produce official figures under RAJAR).

All those people could be hearing about you and your business. For free – news stories cost nothing except a little time.

What can CCG Media do for me?

Let’s stick with our example. If you’re a hairdresser in Ramsey, I can think of three pretty good stories off the top of my head that would get you decent coverage.

Wait. Four. No, hang on, five. We’ll be here all day…

The point of the training courses isn’t to replace getting in touch with the press. You’ll have to do that anyway, obviously. If you don’t tell the media, you can’t have a news story.

What we teach is how you can find or create those stories and what to do with them once you come up with them. You can learn the tricks of the trade to make your story stand out when a reporter’s reading your press release.

Basking in the spotlight of free publicity for your small business? That we’ll leave to you to figure out on your own!

If you’d like to know more about the training courses Chips Cheese Gravy Media run that can help your small business advertise itself, click here – we’d love to hear from you!


2 Responses so far.

  1. Peter Piper says:

    “Publicly available audience statistics from the end of 2015 show Manx Radio has around 42,000 listeners a week. 3FM has in the region of 30,000 (Energy doesn’t produce official figures under RAJAR).” 72,000 people listen to two local radio stations a week? That quote alone proves what utter rubbish Rajar is. Only 500 people max are used for a survey and i believe it was just over 100 used on the last rajar. I’m all for having these stats to try and sell advertising but actually believing in them? Don’t be so stupid.

    • Jason says:

      Jason here, “Peter”. Not hard to guess where you’re from given your IP.
      Unusual points – The sets of people who listen to a particular station can overlap.
      And a confidence interval of 5% / level of 95%, in a population of 85000, needs a sample <400.
      Never mind. I don't discriminate against people's "beliefs", no matter how silly.
      There's no other way to reliably find audience figures, RAJAR is the industry standard.
      Unless, of course, you can come up with something better?
      Relying on a system which can be shown, statistically, to be accurate is not stupid.
      Nobody runs an outlet without some idea of what their audience might be.
      Examples of how to calculate sample sizes can be found online. It's A-level statistics.
      Really good to see you here, though - thanks for the comment!

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