what is public relations

8 News Values: How to Tackle Media Relations and Keep Your Credibility

By Media, Public Relations

The media (and the world at large) would like your help. Understanding the difference between what’s news and what’s not is super important. As users of smartphones, blogs and YouTubes we are ALL the media. As consumers of news, we, through consumption, sharing and engaging, determine what’s interesting to the masses.

Ah, such responsibility!

As a business person, marketer or communications lead for a nonprofit it is critically important to fully “get” the eight news values, and to understand that your “news” must fit into one of these buckets and you must have a pretty clear understanding of how to articulate that fit. If you can’t, and keep wondering why the media “never” covers what you pitch, you might take some time to seriously consider whether what you’re sharing is really even news at all.

I’ve been using the following list to help pitch news, create client editorial calendars, teach public relations students, mentor people in my industry and keep my own public relations on message for many years. As a special bonus, I’m offering you the workshop handout, Is it News? from Jaggers Communications to download, print, post above your desk and on your refrigerator, at the end of this post.

8 News Values You Can Use

1. Proximity — is location a factor? What’s happening right in the client’s back yard?

2. Prominence — has someone famous aligned themselves with the company?

3. Significance — is this the first of its kind anywhere in the world? The biggest?

4. Timeliness — is there something happening “today only” or for a limited time?

5. Human interest — is there a story to be told about the owner of the company, its employees or its customers? There’s potential for a whole series of stories here.

6. Unusualness — what makes this story or this client really different from its competition? What is happening that rarely happens anywhere?

7. Conflict — this is not always the direction you want your news to take, but if your client has come into conflict with a customer, local authorities or a competing entity, the story may become that news rather than the news you want to share.

8. Currency (newness) — the value in news that is new lasts about two seconds in today’s speed-driven communications. It’s tricky to get in front of a story and share something that’s new, and it won’t be news unless you’re the very first to break it.

Now . . . go forth and be newsworthy!

Get the handout — Is it News? From Jaggers Communications


On Mistakes, and the Benefit of Learning from Them

By Public Relations


If you can’t admit you’ve made them, you don’t belong here. I’ve made a lot of them; some of them real doozies.  I’ve come  to appreciate the benefit of mistakes; that for every one I’ve made, even the ones that harbor deep regret, I’ve learned, and become better for the experience.

A while ago I watched this video and became captivated by Kathryn Schultz’s topic: read Why Being Wrong is Good for You. I think this is the kind of lesson we all need now and again; and even if we already know it, is worth the regular reminder.

Communications — the industry in which I work — would not exist if it weren’t for mistakes — misunderstandings, missteps (intentional or not) by corporations necessitating public relations strategy, major snafus discovered and shared by media and social media that can make or break a brand’s reputation. I should be grateful for mistakes! Much of what I do centers on keeping clients from making them, or helping clean them up when they occur.

James Dyson, famed innovator and vacuum cleaner mogul shares his story of the 5,000 mistakes he made before creating the Dyson vacuum that took his name to the top of the industry.

If you’re brave enough, tell me in the comments about a mistake you’ve made, and learned from.

While you eat your lunch today, (come on, I know you’ll be at your desk munching on a sandwich), watch the following 10 minute video. Diana Laufenberg teaches us how we learn from mistakes, and why it’s important.