Monday, May 21, 2018
Editorial Tip: Don’t Bury Your “News Peg” in Announcements and General Features
One of the things we like to do to help our contributing members is to help discover interesting news items that might have been overlooked in the effort to promote the latest happenings at an organization. This can happen. It’s understandable that you want to promote your faculty member or researcher who was published in a “prestigious” journal or presented findings at a scientific meeting. We understand that you need to appease your stakeholders as you reach out to your community. However, when it comes to reaching out to the general media via our wires, focusing on the honor can sometimes cloud over what really gets journalists’ attention: the noteworthy news item.
So how can you transform the announcement or a light feature into a research-results type article when you submit your news on Newswise? Perhaps all it takes is a little tweaking of the headline and the description. After all, this is what is displayed in the wires that are sent to our reporters. They are scanning these headlines looking for that fresh bit of news, sometimes referred to as a news peg.
Here’s an example of how a headline rewrite with a different angle can turn your light feature into a more newsworthy story…
I found an article recently posted on one of our client’s news pages, which was titled, Former [Organization’s name] students study mating habits of hummingbirds, parakeets. After reading the article, I found an interesting news item from the research on bird behavior near the end of the release. In a recently published study, the researchers found female hummingbirds and parakeets have certain preferences when it comes to picking their mates, which correlate to the males’ cognitive abilities. I proposed a new headline for our wires and the browse pages on Newswise. The client graciously approved the posting with the new headline, which now read: Studies Support the Idea that Female Birds Prefer to Mate and Raise Chicks with Smart Males.
The article garnered 1861 unique views ( significantly higher than the average feature or announcement of approx. 1300 hits) with 7 major media outlets viewing, including staff reporters from the National Geographic and Philadelphia Inquirer.
Here’s another example from a news release I found just browsing the web:
Original headline: Pivot Bio Reports Significant Growth and Expansion of Leadership Team
After reading the article, I thought the more newsworthy item might be what this company is about to do with this newly expanded team. They’re going to launch a new microbe.
Potential new headline: With Newly Expanded Leadership, Pivot Bio to Launch World’s First Nitrogen-Producing Microbe for Corn in 2019
Clearly the news about their new microbe for corn is of more of interest to the national media than the company’s new leadership.
The next time you post an announcement or feature, see if you can discover the interesting news buried in the paragraphs. Feel free to reach out to our staff to help you uncover that hidden news peg!