Key elements needed for news value in a story or event

Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Making sure a media release has “news value” increases the odds that an editor or reporter will use or follow up on the release.

“Lots of times it seems the news is always negative, but there really is more that goes into making something newsy,” said David Burton, civic communication specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Timeliness may be the most important aspect of news value.

“A story needs to be immediate or near the present to be newsy. Without timeliness a news story is either history or prediction,” said Burton

For community newspapers especially, proximity is key.

“News needs to be close, physically or psychologically, to the audience of the publication or broadcast,” said Burton.

Media releases are better if they deal with something that is important (a big idea, event, situation or person) and have some type of conflict (any type of struggle).

“Improvements made by man that show progress or stories that deal with something that is rare, odd or unforeseen also increases the news value,” said Burton. “Of course, ideas, events or situations that touch human emotions and provide human interest have news value too.”

For more information about writing media releases that will get used, purchase a copy of the book: “Newswriting for Non-journalists.” The book is now available for purchase on or at the Greene County Extension Center.

“It is a great tool for any community leader or volunteer that works with the news media or seeks to publicize community events,” said Burton, who edited and contributed to the book.

More information is available at or by calling the MU Extension office in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.