If you were a storyteller, which most journalists are, what kind of stories would you want to tell?
Those about everyday life or something out of the ordinary?
Well if you want an audience, of course, it would be the out of the ordinary…maybe even the extraordinary. While that may seem like a no-brainer, it’s not to everyone.
In the meeting I attended last spring with broadcast journalists and producers, we talked about what type of stories draw them like moths to light. So keep in mind, these are the kind of pitches that can help construct a more positive position for your organization, because you know the other kind of extraordinary stories will likely get covered whether you like it or not.
“Extraordinary stories that reporters write can apply to good news and bad news, so why not give them a reason to put your best foot forward.”
Hero stories. The boy or girl who saves another person’s life in the cafeteria when they notice someone sitting near them is choking on a chip. Because they learned the Heimlich maneuver at a recent P.E. class on campus, they put their arms around the front of their friend and pump the chip out of their throat. The hero student gets the spotlight for a moment, and the campus, teachers and school district get exposure for teaching such a lifesaving technique.
Overcoming the odds stories. Everyone loves an underdog, right? That’s why this is a favorite of reporters and news producers. It sets up the almost insurmountable obstacles in a person’s life, but then shows how they came out victorious on the other side. An example could be a successful professional athlete that excels at long-distance running reveals to a reporter their childhood with chronic asthma. Because he never gave up his dream, he found someone who cared enough to help change their diet eliminating an allergic condition, and is now a world-class runner.
Inspirational stories. These can be similar to the overcoming the odds genre, but can be just related to someone who really believed in what they were doing or what someone else was doing. For instance, a person who has experienced failure after failure professionally because they had an out-of-the-box approach to their work that just didn’t click with those who made the hiring and firing decisions. Then despite conventional wisdom, someone saw potential and innovation in this seemingly lost cause, took a chance on them and gave them time to hit their sweet spot.
Extraordinary stories that reporters write can apply to good news and bad news, so why not give them a reason to put your best foot forward.