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Communications and Marketing

What Makes a Good Story?

When deciding if a story idea is a good fit for Binghamton University’s news outlets (, the alumni and school magazines, news releases, social media channels, Inside and Dateline), University Communications and Marketing staff must determine whether the story will advance awareness of the academic and research achievements happening on campus; showcase current students, faculty/staff or alumni; and support the University's local, regional and national reputation.

Learn more about:

  • What to think about when considering story ideas
    • Why is this important? Why should readers care? How will this impact how readers live, work, play or engage with the University?
    • What is unique about the topic? Is this something that has not been done before? What is new or different? (This is especially important if the topic has been covered before or is a recurring event.)
    • Is the timing right? What is new and interesting that is not just in the planning stages, but has happened or is happening? (News releases about upcoming events are an exception.)
    • Is there a tie-in to something going on in the world right now or a current trend in the industry?
    • Is there a human-interest angle to the story? Are there any individuals with whom the audience can identify?
    • How does this story advance the University? How does it support Binghamton's Road Map efforts or strategic priorities?
  • Characteristics of great stories
    • Have a human element
    • Make sense to the average reader (are written in plain language so they are easily understood)
    • Are interesting beyond the walls of Binghamton's campus (Ask yourself: If you were not connected with the University, would you still read an article about this subject?)
    • Engage readers while also supporting the University's brand
    • Have broad appeal and matter to people of varied backgrounds
    • Clearly illustrate positive outcomes or show how Binghamton's work is producing positive and quantifiable results
  • These types of stories will garner the most attention
    • Research, scholarship or teaching happening at Binghamton that directly benefits society
    • The work of a colleague or student in your department/office/school that excites you
    • Projects or programs that enhance quality of life, stimulate the economy, improve healthcare or education, or otherwise positively influence the world in tangible ways
    • Philanthropy that changes students' lives or enables the University to accomplish something extraordinary
    • Something that inspires alumni or donors to give to Binghamton
    • Work that has extraordinary outcomes or success
  • Information to have on hand when you submit a story idea
    • Who is/are the primary person/persons involved in the story? Any background information on main participants, speakers, researchers, etc., that you can provide is helpful.
    • What is the story? Provide as many details as possible.
    • If there is a time element, when is this happening? Be specific.
    • If location matters, where is this taking place?
    • Why should anyone care? What makes this story special or of potential interest to others?

Have a story idea?

If you have a story idea that you think is appropriate for one of our magazines (and addresses the criteria listed above) speak to your communications manager, if one is assigned to your school.

Last Updated: 12/11/17