This is the second of a 3-part blog series to help funders leverage relationships with traditional media. Our thanks to Patti Giglio of PSG Communications, LLC, for her contributions to our new media toolkit for Exponent Philanthropy members, the basis for this blog series.
Journalists of all stripes are always looking for stories. The stress of ever-shrinking newsrooms and the constant pressure to publish on social media create an insatiable demand for story ideas. Philanthropists who can provide reporters with editorially viable story ideas will quickly become trusted sources.
What makes something newsworthy—or editorially viable—follows a time-tested formula. Six simple elements create the framework for how journalists gauge the merit of a news story. Understanding these elements can help you identify when you have a good story or how to create one.
1. Statistics. Statistics are the single most important thing reporters need. When you are considering statistics, look for the “-EST” factor: biggest, fastest growing, or even lowest or smallest, which can represent a challenge you face.
Consider doing an original survey, or partnering with others to commission a study. Identify academic researchers studying the issues you care about and perhaps fund new research, or a survey or analysis of existing data. Also consider your own organizational data or that of your grantees. Look for data that is counterintuitive and illustrates something particularly relevant to the work you are doing.