5 factors that determine whether a journalist will cover your story

Reporters are inundated with pitches and story ideas. If you understand their motivation (and their editor’s), your story stands a better chance of getting picked up.

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Journalists receive dozens of unsolicited phone calls and hundreds of unwanted emails each day.

Their Twitter networks churn out an endless stream of updates, links, and photos.

Their RSS (really simple syndication) feeds offer innumerable stories from their favorite blogs and websites.

With all of that information constantly coming in, it’s not hard for reporters to find potential news stories. But finding news stories they can actually report on? Now that’s the hard part. That’s because every news organization has constraints on which stories their reporters can cover and how they can cover them.

In virtually every newsroom around the world, here are the five factors that drive news decisions: time, speed, space, profit, and bias.

Time

Journalists have never before faced such bruising deadlines. Newspaper reporters who once had to write a story a day now have to continually update that story for their paper’s website.

Their broadcast counterparts now have to produce separate Web-only versions of their radio and television segments throughout the day and promote them via social media.

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