What is News
News reporting is the core business of the press and media. Today, the news is delivered as quickly, objectively, and accurately as possible by the press and media to reach their target audiences.
There are basically two types of news: Hardnews, which is primarily the reporting of basic facts and figures, as well as soft news, or news of human interest that can be broadly sub-categorized into stories and angles.
News can also be classified as regular or unusual news.
• Regular news: Economic outlook (e.g., accident, negligence), new frontier (e.g., sports record), current affairs, direct competition, court judgment, national crisis, disaster, business news (e.g., outlook, lawsuit, financial performance)
• Unusual news: Unusual, abnormal, sensational, socially-impactful, drama, breakthrough, safety breach, insider news, technological advancement, social media viral video, social media fake news, etc
Press and Media
Above-the-line media channels include television, radio, and the web, while below-the-line media comprises the press, which covers newspapers and magazines.
The press and media are powerful stakeholders of any business. The press likes to develop stories, while the media prefers to explore different angles. Your company’s 20th anniversary would not amount to a story in the press, but if your company plans to donate $20 million to a charitable organization to mark its 20th anniversary, it would certainly become a story!
With the popularisation of social media in the last few years, the media realm has undergone a vast transformation. Unlike before, it is easy to generate news. However, the downside is that it can be difficult to verify the authenticity of a piece of news.
The Difference between Angles and Stories
Stories are usually news of human interest. Such news could involve extensive interviews, personal opinions or random quotations to develop a bigger story. It could be a story on how one could keep fit at the age of 60, or how one could plan for retirement at the age of 30. Celebrities and sports personalities are always stories of interest—their latest development and how they fare against competition are examples of common topics of interest. Typically, the press is interested in stories beyond the scope of specialist columns that discuss different current affairs topics from various viewpoints.
Angles are topics presented in the form of discussions, debates, and question and answer (Q&A) formats from experts. They can cover areas like politics, social phenomenon, health, parenting, career advancement or professional development.
The media often explore different angles of a given topic. In Singapore, MediaCorp 938LIVE is the only radio talk station that hosts various programmes to discuss different topics, often inviting guests to share their stories to help develop different angles: A Slice of Life is about motivation. Moneywise is about ways to spend, save, and invest prudently; and Positive Business Minutes offers daily nuggets of advice on how working professionals could excel and achieve greater success at work.
There is more scope for creating different angles for topical discussion than creating stories for coverage. You could research on radio stations’ sub-programmes to determine if their target audience coincides with yours. If your brand shares the same target audience, craft your pitch and get connected with the respective producers.
Anything the press and media find interesting or newsworthy is commonly known as the “hook”. Obviously, different news will interest different groups of people, as well as impact them differently.
An investor, for example, may track financial news and follow political developments of certain countries more closely than others. Every piece of news helps shape the bigger financial picture for an investor to make investment decisions.
A fresh graduate may be keen to look into recruitment opportunities. He or she could also be interested in the background of different companies. PMETs (professionals, managers, executives, and technicians), on the other hand, may be keen to gather more career viewpoints to get ahead of the competition.
A small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owner may be interested to find out more about regulations governing grants and incentives to grow the business regionally. They will be eager to find out more when the relevant news is announced.
A financial planner, on the other hand, maybe on the lookout for potential prospects featured in the “money” section of television, radio, newspapers, or magazines for a meeting to discuss business opportunities.
A homemaker may be interested to read human stories, such as latest developments in a court case. They may also want to be kept abreast with the latest entertainment news.
An author may want to look for materials to support his or her writing or browse the bestseller list for top-selling books.
Essentially, every single piece of news is of value to someone out there. To reach out to your target audience, you have to know what is of news value to that group.
Think from the standpoint of a news editor or radio producer when you craft your pitch. Consider if the piece of news would be of any interest to your readers or listeners if you were the editor or presenter. If your answer is no, your pitch is probably not newsworthy.
In short, make your news relevant to a specific target audience. Deliver values and insights so that the press and media will take greater notice of you and your brand. Make an effort to read the newspapers, watch the news, and listen to radio programmes to deconstruct the messages conveyed.