Finalist Christian New Media Awards 2014 - Innovative Use of New Media In Outreach

What Makes a Good Story

When you are writing your story, the media want a short summary headline, not much more than a tweet to describe what your story is about in 160 characters. You then need to give more detail.

Think about how you can theme your story so it catches a journalist’s eye.

  • People focused stories: the most popular… everyone loves reading rags to riches, triumph over adversity, human interest stories!
  • Milestones: your 100th client, 175 year old building, 10th year serving your community…
  • Topical: eg child poverty, obesity, euthanasia, under-age drinking…
  • Seasonal: Christmas themed, Easter- new life, Autumn clocks going back, community bonfire…
  • Awareness days: National hug your boss day, be a good neighbour week, homeless day- Preferably with a local case study. See
  • National: Media also love local angles on national stories eg human trafficking, youth unemployment, especially if it’s also topical or seasonal…
  • Services: you launch a new product or service such as CAP money, job club, Food Bank…
  • News in brief: just send a few quick details of your Alpha course, jumble sale, Easter family fun day for the “What’s on” and listings people.

Now you’ve cracked your theme, to the words in your great press release:

  • Introductory paragraph summarizing whole story for journalist and reader
  • Each paragraph must now include essential facts: The 4 Ws and the H
    • Who - is the story about
    • What - is happening?
    • Where - is the event etc going on
    • When - is it taking place
    • Why - will anyone be interested (crucial key- sell on benefits to them)
    • How - will people respond/ contact you (call to action, contact details)
  • Careful use of capitals (proper names, not titles) and NO PUFF!
  • Use plenty of quotes from interested parties - journalists tend to cut from the bottom of an article and leave in the quotes
  • Finish with a clear call to action and full contact details for more information, including website