Monday, 11 June 2012

Following the leader

What makes a good top story? A question one of the City University students asked me when I was a guest Editor recently.  One of the best ways of deciding a good top news story is to ask yourself the question. Does it affect my listener?

Today Monday 11th of June there are three stories dominating the headlines this morning.  The Leveson Enquiry, Tesco drop in profits and Spain has accepted a Euro bail out.  If I was the Editor at City University Radio I would probably lead with the Euro bail out, the reason? That story will probably have a direct impact on the life of my listener if they have savings as the Footsie will probably gain today -  or they are a student planning a holiday (remember it is June)

Then I would probably go for Tesco as we all have to shop and buy food and it looks like more of us are not shopping at this store.

Finally Leveson though strictly a story that journalists get excited about, (I am not sure that my listener cares about press standards,) but this week we have some very big names and on Thursday the current Prime Minister is in the 'dock' so it becomes a story about personalities and juicy soap-opera style gossip.

There is a three word mantra that I was taught by radio guru Valerie Geller - Health, Heart, Wallet.  In other words, and to borrow some Daily Mail headlines: "Water can kill you." "Brave tot rescues granny." "We all must pay £1000 a year more income tax."

I am primarily interested in my own health, I also care about emotional stories and finally I care if I lose or gain money, a reason why you would probably lead with Eurozone today.

Other factors that ruin this rather simplistic formula include localism - if you are a local radio station then you are likely to bump up a good local story.  Then there is your demographic - listeners to Capital Radio probably care more about the Summer Ball than pension rights.

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