Understanding Media

Journalists are like construction workers. Supply them with the materials they need and they will be more likely to use your blueprint for the story as well. Here is an outline of what they do.

  1. Building the basic news story: The inverted pyramidThe main point first, then the supporting information:

    Supporting Details….complications…kicker
    More real-life examples and quotes
    Color: background and history
    Grain of Salt…reaction…examples
    Crucial facts, quotes, people
    So what: the issue
    The lead

  2. The bricks and mortar of a news story
    • The lead—the main message—the news—the grabber
    • The so-what paragraph—the issue, the reason you should care
    • Basic supporting information (finish the five Ws!)
    • Good quotes—illustrative remarks
    • Real-life examples—put a face on it
    • The grain of salt paragraph—opposition, reaction, criticism
    • Color: make them smell it, make it sing
    • Background and history
    • More detailed facts, background and history
    • The kicker—a smart remark, startling fact that can be cut at the end
    • Art—the more possibilities, the better
  3. Weather conditions for construction—considerations beyond the story itself
    • The sources—who can I trust?
    • The timing—a deadline every minute, what else is happening
    • The hassle factor—what else will it take to get this story?
    • The missing parts—who has more information?
  4. Contracting for a project—the role of flacks
    • Be a reliable and hassle-free source of solid bricks, mortar, steel beams, etc.
    • Provide the materials and a blueprint and let the reporter build the house.
    • Have the materials ready in your colors in advance.
    • Be able to produce more or find other suppliers on short notice.