Tip cup – Is your news newsworthy?

Last month, ABC News Correspondent Elisabeth Leamy spoke to Credit Union League and Association communicators about media relations and the elements of a good news story.

Her presentation reminded me of an acronym used in public relations to determine if your idea had news value.

TIP CUP represents the words timeliness, impact, proximity, conflict, unusual and prominence. A newsworthy story will have one or more of these components:

Is it happening now? Or will it happen soon? Don’t send a journalist information about an event that happened last week.


Will this have an impact on readers or viewers? Will they be interested? How can it help them or make their lives better? What is the “wow” factor?


Is it happening in your town or nearby? Will it affect your community? If it’s a national story, how can you make it local?


Are there two sides to this story? Another angle is an individual struggle against a life event or tragic situation


Novelty is always a plus. Are you announcing a new innovative product? Or a fresh approach to something old and traditional?


If your story involves a well known person, the news value increases.

Two other tips that Leamy covered during her presentation are worth repeating:

  • Know what kinds of stories the journalist covers. Don’t pitch how your credit union member destroyed their debt to a reporter that covers local crime or state legislative issues.
  • Be mindful of where the journalist works. If you are contacting a TV station, make sure you have good video opportunity, or can supply it to them. If it’s a print publication, high quality photos work best. Radio interview? An interesting sound bite will carry the story.

Journalists are busy and many receive hundreds of news releases a day. Make yours stand out by ensuring your information passes the “who cares?” factor by asking yourself, why would people care about this? What value does the information have for consumers? And be sure it passes the TIP CUP test.

Susan Dyer

Susan Dyer

Susan is the Communications Director for the Heartland Credit Union Association, the trade association for credit unions in Kansas and Missouri. She has been a part of the marketing and ... Web: HeartlandCUA.org Details