By Keren Haynes
The logic is obvious. If you speak a foreign language fluently you will be able to communicate with the locals more effectively. The same theory applies when a PR professional tries to persuade a journalist to run a story on television or radio. Understanding what a broadcast journalist wants from a story – and delivering the goods to them – can make all the difference between getting your story on air, or not. As a former broadcast journalist myself (ex BBC, ITN and others) I can tell you that experience, from the other side of the fence, is damned handy – but if you’ve never worked as a journalist, you might enjoy this blog!
What makes a story?
Who, what, when, where, why and how… All stories are comprised of the answer to one or more of those questions. And they are the questions a journalist will ask themselves when weighing up the merits of a story. They want a new story or the very least a new twist on an old story. And, in an ideal world, it needs to pass the water-cooler or pub test – that means the sort of story people remember and tell their colleagues or friends or family about later in the day.
With the exception of daytime programming, there are not the same opportunities for features that you find in print, so most PR generated stories for broadcast end up on the news. Once upon a time there were 3 requirements from a story: it had to educate, inform and entertain. Today, the broadcast landscape has changed significantly – so many channels compete for what is essentially the same audience and only one thing matters…Your story has to entertain. Not funny ha ha, entertain – but engage, be of interest and be significant.
Think pictures and sound
Talk their language
Horses for courses