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What makes a story newsworthy: Lessons learned from the Christmas story

Posted Dec 20th, 2012 in Public Relations

What makes a story newsworthy:  Lessons learned from the Christmas story

For writers, journalists and public relations professionals, having a story that is newsworthy is very important.  The Christmas Story has been around for thousands of years, been shared across the world, translated in many languages and celebrated year after year.


So what makes this story so special?  Why is it 'newsworthy'?

  1. Drama and Emotion – An unwed mother, a mother claiming that the baby is God’s baby, an engagement, angel of the Lord came to shepherds in a field…and of course, a baby is born.  There is also the part where Mary is carrying the baby that will save the world, King of the Jews:  You can’t get more emotional and dramatic than that.
  2. Odd or Unusual – All of the above.  Nothing is ordinary about this story – for us now and for the people of that time.  The story was so newsworthy and exciting that the three wise-men journeyed for a year to find this king, taking him precious gifts to honor him.  The interesting thing about these wise-men is that they were not part of the spiritual community – the Jewish people – that were awaiting this prophesied King.  The story of this baby was big, and they had to meet him. [1]
  3. Local Angle – Not local for many of us, but this is part of the excitement.  However, the local angle is that for those who have their faith in this King to save their lives, it is very dear and close to their hearts.
  4. Topical, Timely
  5. Conflict - When King Herod heard that this baby was coming, he ordered a mass murder:  Power, Greed and Fear.  If this baby truly was the King of the Jews, King Herod believed that he would lose his throne.
  6. Relevant to Audience
  7. Universal Appeal
This story is simple, but offers hope and joy for everyone - promising to do this for all time. It is relevant, shocking, controversial, emotional and global:  A recipe for a newsworthy story to last forever.

Is it fact or fiction?

As a journalist / writer it is important to check the facts.  The Christmas story is told in various ways over the centuries with emphasis put on faith for some, and just a good story by others; however, when it comes down to details of the story, there are various credible sources supporting the truth behind this story.  When stories are shared by many, there is a tendency to take certain liberties to make the story bigger and more exciting than the original.  There is the chance of error. It is our responsibility as communication professionals to research, research, and do more research; and then, with honesty and transparency, write the story that is begging to be told.

References

The Christmas Story - Mike Krause - Southridge.cc

The Christmas Story - Mike Krause - Southridge.cc

[1] Baby Jesus is born :  The story of the Wisemen - Mike Kraus, Southridge CC - St. Catharines, Ontario

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