What makes a story interesting to readers?


For a story to qualify as news it should contain at least one of the following news values. The thumb rule is that the higher the news value (0-6) of an event, the greater its chances of publication.

1. Proximity: “North City without Power”

With reference to the news value “proximity” I found the article “hundreds without power after overnight accident in North City”. I presume that is a great example, because the accident will matter at least the 600 people in North St. Louis City who were without power after a car crashed into utility pole. Whereas people in other cities, states or countries won’t care if some people in St. Louis don´t have any power as long as it does not affect them.

2. Prominence: “Nelly presents scholarships”

Regarding the news value “prominence” I found the article “Hip-Hop artist Nelly to present scholarships” on the Newsmagazine Network website. Each year the Grammy Award-winner Nelly presents two “Black and White” scholarships to students planning to attend Lindenwood University. Because this story involves a well-known public figure, the readers are bound to be more curious.

3. Timeliness: “Flu vaccine time”

For the news value “timeliness” I picked the article “Time for flu shots, and some may get a tiny needle”. The flu season is very timely, because the risk of contracting the flu is greatest during the wet and cold season at the end of September. This is the time when all newspapers start to write about the flu shots and the new flu vaccine techniques. The article I picked is about the new flu vaccine needle, which is less than a tenth of an inch long and it works by injecting into the skin. Because before the new needle was invented, the flu shots have been injected into muscle with a longer needle.

4. Impact: “Norway massacre”

The story which impacted me most this year was the horrible massacre in Norway. In my opinion it has not just impacted a whole nation, but it also has gained worldwide recognition. Norway, which is normally known for its active peacekeeping and diplomacy missions, became a target for extremists. In “The New York Times” I saw the article “At least 80 dead in Norway Shooting”, which summarize the whole event. The article shows how one man could change a whole nation in just one hour.

The event also includes the news value “conflict”, because the article mentions that Breivik is a right-wing extremist, who has anti-Muslim views. The clash between the political extremists and the Muslims is often a huge topic in the news

5. Conflict: “Syrians vs. Syrian President Bashar Assad”

I chose the article “Uprising seems near violence”, which was published in “The Washington Times”, because it explains very well the increasing conflict between the Syrians and the government. More Syrian protesters are starting to take up arms after six months of peaceful insurgency met by severe crackdown, because they are frustrated that President Bashar Assad remains in control even though more than 2,700 demonstrators are dead. With the chaos growing, the worry that the struggle could turn into a civil war is increasing too. In addition there is an in increasing pressure on people to defend their villages and families, because the brutality of the regime has become tremendous. Another problem is to quantify the degree to which the protesters are arming themselves, because the Syrian government banned foreign media as well as restricted local coverage.

6. Unusual/Human interest: “Death of Knut”

A good example for a human interest story is the article “Tragedy in Berlin Zoo” on the German “SpiegelOnline” news website. The story is about the death of Knut, Germany´s celebrity polar bear star of Berlin Zoo. Knut had collapsed and died and his cause of death is still unclear. It does not really have an impact on any recipient’s life, but it definitely is a story which is emotional and makes us sad.

Furthermore this story also includes the news value “proximity”, because Knut´s death will matter especially the readers in Berlin. Because you have to take into consideration that Knut´s popularity ended up providing the Berlin Zoo an extra €5 million. As well as a lot of extra moneys to the hotels and the companies that manufactured Knut souvenirs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s