This year's most critical media insight...

If you have an interest in what drives the news agenda and determines what news gets covered…and what doesn’t…then you MUST listen to words of a young bloke called Rodney Corver.  They’re contained in today’s special edition of The West Australian where kids from the so-called GenerationZ (kids born after 1984) put their stamp the content of the day’s paper.

The remarkably profound insight comes from Rodney towards the end of a story by Bethany Hiatt where he talks about what he and his mates observed while sitting in on the The West’s daily news conference of editors.  Far easier to let the story tell itself:

After conference, the students said they were surprised to find out stories seemed to be chosen for emotive reasons.

“It was all based on feel and what would look good,”Rodney Corver said.  “I thought there would be more of a formula to it.”

You got it in one Rodney…and a few PR operatives around the place would do well to heed your words.  There is no magic formula to news – despite what people might think.  Some days it can be incredibly random what takes an editor’s fancy…and what doesn’t.

The key is to understand what drives people emotionally…better still go a step further and listen to someone who knows a lot about that – Hugh Mackay.  His book What Makes Us Tick is a great start. Think newsrooms are well-oiled machines with fancy strategies and complex planning structures?  Try random, disorganised, at times frenetic, mad, all-over-the-shop…who the hell stole my contact book!  (With apologies to my journalistic colleagues…but really, it wasn’t me: Blame Rodney…)