Newsworthy Stories Guide
A key component of Seminole State’s PR, Communications and Social Media team is to showcase Seminole State College’s brand and unique attributes/advantages/specialist programs, academic excellence and college students, faculty, staff and alumni to increase brand awareness, enrollment and retention.
We are always on the lookout for stories for traditional (TV, radio, print, streaming) and social media.
Telling Seminole State's Stories
Newsworthiness is often determined by several key factors that make a story compelling and relevant to audiences. Audiences are varied and include prospective students, parents and influencers, media, current students, employees, community members, legislators and donors.
What makes a story or social post newsworthy?
- Impact: The greater the numbers or impact on individuals, communities, or society, the more likely it is to be considered news.
- Timeliness: Stories should be about current or recent events/developments. The exception is ‘evergreen’ stories such as testimonials or faculty and student profiles that can be used anytime.
- Proximity: Is the story locally, regionally or nationally relevant? People are generally more interested in events that occur locally or have a direct connection to their lives.
- Human Interest: Stories that evoke emotions, touch on human experiences, successes or challenges, or have a unique angle often attract interest. These might include heartwarming, inspirational, or extraordinary tales.
- Relevant and Trending Topics: Stories that tie into ongoing trends, popular topics, or issues that are currently in the public eye are more likely to be considered newsworthy.
- Unusualness or Rarity: Events that are uncommon, unexpected, or have an element of surprise. This can encompass anything from strange occurrences to exceptional achievements.
- Magnitude: The scale or size of an event: Large-scale disasters, breakthroughs, or achievements tend to capture attention, although niche or unique stories are also newsworthy.
- Ethical or Moral Significance: Stories that raise ethical, moral, or societal questions often attract attention due to their deeper implications for society such as social mobility or the digital divide.
- Conflict or Controversy: Stories with elements of conflict, controversy, or tension grab attention.
- Visually Interesting: For TV and social media, stories must be visually appealing or be able to be paired with good video/photo resources.
Newsworthiness isn't an absolute measure but rather a combination of these factors that journalists, editors, and media outlets consider when deciding what stories to cover. Different news outlets prioritize these factors differently based on their audience and editorial stance.
Higher education covers a wide array of story subjects that can be of interest to various audiences. Some potential story subjects in higher education include:
- Education Trends: Covering the latest trends in education, such as return to campus, online learning, competency-based education, micro-credentials, or appealing to non-traditional students.
- Student Experiences: Highlighting unique stories of students, their achievements, challenges, and ways colleges are working to improve the student (and employee) experience.
- Increasing Access: Exploring initiatives and services, challenges, and successes related to increasing access to education for all.
- Research and Innovation: Showcasing research, studies, scientific discoveries, or innovative projects undertaken by faculty or students.
- Admissions and Enrollment: Investigating trends in college admissions, challenges faced by prospective students, or changes in enrollment patterns.
- Financial Aid and Affordability: Examining the value of college, financial support and scholarships, FAFSA, financial aid, student loan debt, Open Education Resources (OER) and initiatives to make higher education more affordable.
- Campus Life and Culture: Exploring campus events, traditions, student organizations and the overall social environment on campus.
- Faculty and Staff: Profiles of notable faculty and staff for their contribution to learning, students, the College and their community. Hobbies and interests can also be newsworthy if practitioners are successful or the hobby or interest is unusual.
- Technology in Education: Discussing the integration of technology in classrooms, virtual learning environments, AI or tech-driven teaching methodologies.
- Career Readiness and Employability: Exploring programs, skills/learning outcomes, internships, apprenticeships, career fairs or initiatives aimed at preparing students for the workforce.
- Sustainability Initiatives: Highlighting efforts by institutions to promote sustainability, eco-friendly practices or environmental education.
- Physical and Mental Health and Wellness: Discussing physical and mental health challenges among students and efforts by colleges to provide support and resources.
- Alumni Success Stories: Showcasing successful alumni and their contributions in various fields after graduation. How they "GO Far."
Each of these subjects offers a range of angles and perspectives that can be explored to create engaging and informative stories within the realm of higher education.
Timing in PR and communications is everything. In a 24/7 world with breaking news spanning multiple media and social media outlets throughout the day, deadlines are now.
Subject matter experts for email, phone and on-camera interviews, background information, photos, video and much more are vital to sharing Seminole State College stories and earning additional media coverage.
- Let us know in advance when you have an event planned or newsworthy topic so we may take photo/videos, prepare a story pitch to external media outlets or feature on the Newsroom and/or social media.
- The team plans 3-6 months in advance for program launches, complex media stories/pitches and major events so as much lead time as possible is appreciated. You can put in a ticket for service in the Service Request System with as much detail as you have and add to it as more information becomes available.
- When you provide us with details we need the following to the best of your ability:
- Who: Who is involved (this could be a department, individual or the college as a whole or an outside body such as a donor or awarding body)?
- When: When did the activity happen or when is it going to happen?
- What: What is the event or newsworthy activity/item?
- Where: Where did the event or activity take place or will it take place?
- Why: Why is it interesting, important or helpful to meet a need?
- How: (How did the activity begin, how is it relevant, other details
- Media pitches must include:
- All details of the activity or event
- A subject matter expert (SME) from the program or department willing to be interviewed
- At least one student spokesperson willing to be interviewed
- When we pitch to media, journalists have to pitch their ideas to their editor/producer. We cannot pitch a story without the details and the more we help them, the more they help us!
The following are typical lead times for various types of stories:
Social media posts
Daily for breaking news. Scheduled weekly and monthly.
Immediate. 2-day maximum.
Newsroom and editorial articles
Daily for breaking news. Scheduled: 2-3 weeks
Community, recruiting events
3-4 weeks to allow posting to community calendars
2-6 weeks depending on complexity
Large events; complex stories; integrated marketing and communications campaigns
12-24 weeks. Annual scheduling if possible
Integrated, marketing and communications campaigns
12-24 weeks. Annual scheduling if possible
Social media is more immediate, but sustained and engaging content requires planning and scheduling.
The communications team has a social media meeting every Monday morning. If you have attended an event, won an award, have a student story or other news suitable for social media, please create an Event Publicity ticket and include relevant details and portrait and landscape photos (cellphone photos are fine). If the event has not yet taken place, please submit photos after the event (with left-to-right captions if you include people) in the existing ticket. For quick tips on submitting event photos and creating video content for social media, visit our social media webpage.
We are also looking for future events/activities (3-6 months out) and evergreen content. If you have read an interesting article or paper, conducted research, have a unique or interesting aspect to your program or a student success story let us know.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and X to see recent posts.
The College’s communications team, along with the external public relations collaborators from Richeson Communications, have pitched and placed several positive media stories including: Grad Walk, Vienna Choir holiday performance, computer-aided design (CAD) program enhancements, Decision Day, community paramedicine program and the Altamonte Springs Campus expansion.
The team also works to publish stories in the Newsroom. Here are a few examples:
- Don’t speak to the media without the Communications Office knowledge and/or presence.
- Never give “off the record” comments.
- Call the Communications Office before responding to a direct inquiry from a member of the media.