How do journalists and bloggers decide what to write about?
If you guessed they get all their ideas from PR people, you’re dreaming. Though a surprising number do. While it may be common sense for some of you, some might not know how journalists and bloggers decide what to write about (or which stories to produce in the broadcast arena).
So how do journalists and bloggers decide what to write about? Here are a few of the most common responses we’ve heard from talking to dozens of them:
- They get assigned a story from editors, along with the sources they should interview for the piece – often from an in-house database of go-to sources, built through long-term relationships with experts and PR professionals.
- They write a story based on recent news events – in other words, they write about the news of the day. This is one of the biggest areas of opportunity for PR pros, since they can latch onto the hot stories to position their experts as spokespeople or suggest new and exciting angles to cover. Tie-ins to Twitter and the Octo-Mom coverage are two current examples.
- They get an idea for a story based on their knowledge and experience covering a beat, and reach out to their trusted sources to flesh out the details.
- They have original ideas for stories that aren’t out there. They come up with story ideas we’ve never thought of, do the research, and entertain us with their findings. PR can play a role here, if pros can point out a story-of-interest that hasn’t been told yet.
- They find something of interest in the press materials you send, and they develop a more comprehensive story around it. Maybe it’s stats on the benefits of drinking beer or wine to strengthen bones or the effect March Madness has on worker productivity. Surveys, research reports and expert articles are great tools for journalists in this regard.
- They expand upon coverage another journalist or blogger has written about, offering us fresh perspective or counter point, or telling the article as it relates to us locally.
- They talk to people. They stay in close contact with their best sources or they attend industry events and conferences. The challenge for you is
This is only a sampling of ways journalists and bloggers decide what to write about. Understanding how story ideas originate can help you be a more effective media relations professional.
Keep reading for more information on Where Journalists Find Information About Your Company and Where Journalists Look to Find Expert Sources. [Read more…]