What Makes a Good News Story?

At Kettle, we do our best to give our opinions about the latest news stories, whether the subject is music, politics or science. But have we ever asked how what makes the news does make the news? And why?

For journalism and media students knowing how stories becomes big news is key to creating successful content, so here’s a short list of some tricks of the trade that promise a good news story.


How relevant a story is makes all the difference to its appeal for an audience. If something happened today, we want to hear about it. If it happened a thousand years ago, we’re less concerned.

Wikimedia commons; “Headline of the New York Times June-29-1914” by lebstock – The New York Times. 


Western stories dominate our media as it is proven that a story people can relate to is one they want to know about, which is one of the main reasons news stories from other cultures are marginalised. For example, American shootings are televised more frequently on Western media than any other kind of shooting. 


If a Kardashian changes her hair colour, we know within minutes. If Kate Middleton wears a tiara, it’s big news. Although news about famous people is sometimes the quickest we pay attention to, 87 per cent of the public believe celebrity scandals receive too much media coverage.

We all love some celebrity gossip, but are there too many celebrity news stories in comparison to other areas of news?


The news is notoriously negative with maybe an odd fuzzy story at the end to leave people on a high while they’re eating their tea. The reason for this is simple; a good news story nearly always has conflict in it.

Without conflict, everyone’s getting on well and there’s no crime, ever. Obviously this isn’t true, so the media uses this to its advantage.

Wikimedia commons; “2012-wildebeest-fight” by Yathin S Krishnappa – Own work. 


Hacking scandals, such as TalkTalk’s latest, make big news stories because they are considered to be in the public interest. We feel we have a right to know who holds our information, and if that is stolen.

Have we hit the nail on the head, or are we miles off? Tell us what you think makes a good news story in the comments below!