Speaking to the press? Tell the TRUTH

Photograph of Socks the Cat Standing on the Press Podium in the Press Room at the White House: 12/05/1993

The TRUTH framework is the easiest way to boost the ‘newsworthiness’ of your story

If you want more coverage from the press, the TRUTH newsworthiness framework can be incredibly helpful. The key aim of the TRUTH framework is to make you think about how interesting your story is for a journalist.

I originally got taught this framework a few years ago in a Fairfax media training session. It struck me as incredibly helpful back then – so I’ve always been amazed that it’s hard to find any detail on the internet.

TRUTH stands for Topical, Relevant, Unusual, Trouble and Human. It’s a quick set of five questions that puts you in the role of storyteller. At every stage, you’re forced to answer “Is this an interesting story to tell?”

Here’s the TRUTH framework and some key questions to help you think about each factor:

Topical

  • Is it timely?
  • Is it about to happen, or has it just happened?
  • What means this should be published today, rather than next month?
  • Why is this story right now (why should it be on tonight’s news)?

Relevant

  • How is this story relevant to this (specific) Journalist’s readers?
  • Why will they find this interesting?
  • The best place to start here is quickly identifying popular articles or topic for the publication/program

Unusual

  • What is different about this story (compared to the 500 other press releases that they’ll receive this week)

Trouble

  • Stories that stir up trouble tend to be more newsworthy and attractive for publication.
  • Where is the “but”?
  • Are there very different perspectives from stakeholders that can be leveraged?

Human

  • What is the human story
  • How can you put a face to the story.
  • The best stories achieve an emotional response from readers/viewers. The only way to get an emotional response is to focus on the underlying human stories