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.
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.
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”.
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.
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!