Eric May – Media Consultant
  

 

 

 

Many of the difficulties international institutions face when dealing with the news media have to do with a lack of understanding of the news media’s role in society and how it operates. 

Recognize that news organizations are big businesses that also serve the public.

News organizations have two roles: to serve the public, and to make a profit. In most cases how well they serve their public determines their prosperity. 

Big news organizations know their audiences extremely well, and they know what their audiences want. Journalists strike a balance between what the audience wants and what it needs. That balance is the news organization's editorial identity.

News professionals understand that giving audiences what they want and need builds audience share. That’s how to make the business of news profitable, and most news people believe, how to best serve the public.

When news people are deciding what to cover and how to cover it, they think first about what their audience wants (and needs).

News people know that audiences are looking for very specific things when they read, listen to, log in, or watch the news:

• Humanity and human emotion

• Stories and storytelling 
- How ordinary people are affected by big issues
- How ordinary people react to extraordinary situations
- Something that makes the audience ask: “what if it was me?” 

• Something new, unusual, or breaks stereotypes

• An unforgettable image, sound, or moment

• Something that touches their lives directly


Evaluate your own story. How many of these elements does it have? The more of these elements in your story, the more likely the news media will cover it in a way that makes sense to you.

Understanding what the news media wants and giving it to them is more likely to result in news coverage that is fair and accurate.