Making News

Now that you've decided how to tell your organization's internal story with a Mission Statement, Talking Points, FAQ, and About Us, it's time to craft a story or pitch that's newsworthy. What is news? Here are a few examples:

Sample News Hooks

Special Events: Just having an event doesn't necessarily constitute a story—you also need a hook like a unique speaker, a major award or milestone, or information about how the event or program will affect the community or your institution.

Services and Programs: Describe how the demand for your services or program is changing, and how that change is tied to external situations – for example, the economic downturn, a change in demographics, or new legislation.

Studies: Share the results of your new study. Focus on how these results will affect your mission, the community, your institution, or society at large.

Participant Stories: Ask beneficiaries of your project or center's work to talk to the media about how you have positively affected their lives.

Public Policy: Make sure the media knows how new bills, regulations, or budgets will affect the resources of your organization. This type of story can be an opportunity to educate reporters about specific programs that are directly impacted by a proposed policy.

Partnerships and Collaborations: Talk about any new partnerships or collaborations, especially those that will lead to jobs or innovative growth. Make sure you represent both partners, and talk frankly (but tactfully) about how you agreed to work together, difficulties you encountered, and benefits that will result.

Leadership: Consider a release about the attributes of new leaders and their aspirations to successfully serve your organization.

Whether you're conveying a story to your institution's communications person, pitching a story to an NSF Program Officer, or sending in an article for LiveScience, you'll need to have a hook (or two) in mind. Also consider that not all of your news will generate an article—sometimes the goal is just be to be listed on an event calendar or announcement page.

Now you that you know a little more about what makes news, you can take stock of all the communications outlets available to your project or center. For more information on Pitching Your Project or Center to dissemination outlets check out the next section.