What is ‘newsworthy’ news?

Generating media coverage for your organisation ultimately comes down to whether or not a journalist thinks your news is newsworthy.

It can be difficult for organisations to cast an objective eye on their own events and achievements being so close to what they do.

Often, people either think that nothing is extraordinary or of public interest because it’s a normal part of their day to day, or they think everything that happens should appear on a paper’s front page.

It’s vital to consider your news audience. Something may be of interest to the local paper or trade media, but of zero relevance for metropolitan publications.

Schools and organisations in the education sector often have great stories to tell that remain within their four walls.

We’ve been working with a Catholic college in Melbourne’s inner-west to identify news that aligns with their vision and values, and of course is newsworthy, to communicate with stakeholders such as current and prospective students and families.

The school’s media presence has transformed from being practically non-existent, to achieving the number one editorial share of voice amongst its competitors in the enrolment catchment area – in a year.

The types of stories that have gained traction include outstanding academic and extra-curricular results, international sporting achievement, a Taster Day for primary school kids experiencing a ‘taste’ of high school life, as well as the profile of a committed teacher travelling hour-long commutes because of his passion for student wellbeing.

Every school wants to have a good reputation, and every school has successes to celebrate – by sharing the success stories, they can build their reputations.

Journalists seek news just as much as organisations want to share theirs, so providing newsworthy stories helps to build long lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.

We believe targeting local publications is a great way to start – but it’s important not to bombard journalists with irrelevant content. If you do, they won’t pay attention when something newsworthy does appear from you in their inbox.

So, what makes something newsworthy at your organisation?


Is it timely, current or topical at the moment? Something that occurred months ago is unlikely to be newsworthy.


Stories which are ‘close to home’ have local impact. A gold discovery in your neighbour’s backyard is much more interesting than one in another country.


What is the story’s significance; how many people are affected? Will it change lives? Is there potential future impact? Will anyone make money on it?


Stories generate more traction if a prominent person is involved, which is why Kim Kardashian’s selfies feature in primetime news broadcasts.

Visual interest

If you can offer a great photo opportunity, your odds of generating media interest multiply. School kids, particularly the cute littlies, are visually appealing. The fact you have a new uniform isn’t newsworthy… but it becomes much more interesting if you offer a pic of your six foot four volleyball champion beside little Jennifer who’s about to start pre-primary.


Is there something quirky, unique or novel about your news? A student scoring an A in science is less newsworthy than an A in circus studies.

Human interest

What is the human angle? People generally relate to a personal story more than a statistic. It’s fantastic for your school to help refugee students, though it is newsworthy if your school has supported Joseph through English as an Additional Language classes to become the top-performing English student in his year.

If it’s the sort of thing you’d chat about with friends and family, then it may have human interest appeal.

Bad news

Unfortunately, the best news – from a reporter’s point of view – is bad news. Naturally, no school is going to proactively promote unfortunate events or incidents. However, schools would be well-advised to be prepared with a media crisis plan… but that’s a whole different story.