Big Questions and Big Stories in a Big News World

With so much information buzzing past people’s ears on TV, the Internet and other media outlets, what stories are going to snatch the readers’ attention? As an aspiring PR professional, it is essential to understand what trends and ideas are important to the public so I can ensure the message of my company reaches as many people as possible and makes an impact. After observing the top stories on several news sites, including CNN.com, NYTimes.com, ABCNews.go.com and NBCNews.com, I began to find trends within these headlines and stories that news sites felt would catch the eye of their readers. These qualities include:

{Controversy}

Hot-button issues are hugely popular with news sites, which was evident as all the news sites began covering Obama’s push to lift the ban on gay marriage. Over the years, this politically-charged issue has divided the nation and caused a stir among politicians across the aisle. These stories spark a similar interest for news readers, who have strong feelings about the issue of gay marriage. These types of stories draw the readers to not only browse through the story, but to re-ignite their beliefs in an issue. As a PR professional, I could imagine wanting to stray away from these issues so I do not alienate public in particular. However, it is good to understand that a controversy, such as a company crisis, may be picked up my news sites and cause my company to come under major scrutiny, so it is important to be prepared for crisis communications.

{Out of the Ordinary}

From a man swallowed by a sinkhole while sleeping to the newest stiletto workout craze, people are captivated by peculiar incidents that don’t occur in everyday life.  The uniqueness of these stories make them attractive to readers, as it shows truly anything is possible and that events can break away from the norm of daily life. As a PR professional, it is important to highlight aspects of a company or create events that will capture the public’s attention that may ordinarily not happen every day. Creating these sort of events can help put a company on the map and impress publics for our company’s uniqueness and cutting edge ideas.

{Internet Trends}

Viral content, such as the Harlem Shake, has taken the social media scene by storm. With so many social media users, it is necessary for news sites to capture and tell the stories of these sensations. Today, it is more important than ever to make sure Public Relations professionals are paying attention to these trends and to understand what is popular on blogs and websites like Reddit. PR professionals need to understand the relevance of the second screen and cater to connecting to publics on these media outlets.

{Geographical Relevance}

When comparing stories from the NY Times and LA Times, their stories cater to the events happening in their specific geographical areas. For example, the NY Times focuses on a school opening in the Bronx while LA Times highlights a forest fire in the California region. These stories immediately impact the people in their circulation area, and while these digital websites are available for international viewing, people are still reading the news that is relevant to their immediate location. From a PR standpoint, it is essential to understand that a story affecting people on the East Coast may not interest people in California, so knowing who to pitch your story to in terms of organizations and publications is important. Remember, we are trying to make the most impact and get the most eyes on the story, so the more relatable to the people in that geographic location, the better. However, this trend could begin to phase out since the Internet is so universal, so these stories can become less captivating to the Internet public with time.

 

 

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