I remember sitting in my News Writing 101 class at Northwestern a million years ago and the professor asked a deceptively simple question: What is news?
About 50 eager beaver j-school hotshots responded with 47 different answers.
The teacher then gave his definition: Whatever the news editor says is news, is news.
That’s why one day Charlie Sheen can dominate the front pages with his tales while the next day, a tsunami in Japan takes center stage. Newspapers and TV are full of hard news like wars, famines and politics. But they are also filled with articles of people doing amazing things, experts showing how to live better lives or businesses that are doing things right.
And that’s why you should send out press releases even when you think no one would be interested. That’s because it isn’t your job to figure out what is news. It is the news editor’s job. One day, you might find that your story is worthwhile and is covered in hundreds of newspapers. You’ll never know unless you try.
Picasso was once asked, “What is art?” He replied, “What isn’t art?”