A news story typically has most if not all the following elements:
1. Timeliness - An event that happened this morning has a much better chance of making today's newscast than something that happened yesterday or last week - unless we can update the story.
2. Proximity - Did the event happen in our town? Our county? The truck that caught fire while loading at a factory on Main Street is much more important to our viewers than if the same incident happened at a town 50 miles away.
3. Impact/Significance/Loss of Life - What are the implications of the event we are reporting? What will happen? If the answer to those questions is "not much," then perhaps we have a story with much flash but little power. EXAMPLE: the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The greater the impact, the bigger the story.
4. Prominence - Is the central figure in our story widely known? If the mayor is arrested for drunken driving, that's a big story. If a worker at a local factory is arrested on the same charge, it's unlikely to even make the newscast.
5. Conflict/Drama - Are two groups at odds over a proposal? Not every news story must have disagreement at its core, but a good percentage of news originates from disputes of one kind or another. The lawyer in a high-stakes case calls a surprise witness. A president fights to keep from being removed from office. A teacher tries to talk a student into turning in a gun.
EXAMPLE: Conflict is newsworthy because as human beings we’re naturally interested in conflict. Conflict is what propels the human drama
6. Interest/Novelty - A story can be lacking many of the above elements, but if viewers find it intriguing, that's often enough. Conversely, if we fail to make significant events interesting, then shame on us as journalists.
EXAMPLE: “When a dog bites a man, no one cares. When the man bites back – now that’s a news story.”