I've always held that news is about the three C's - controversy, chaos, consternation. However, Fortin's (overlong) article covers a great deal more - and has a good list of links. Nice to pick up the research with this.
How to Write a Persuasive News Release » Copywriting Blog By Copywriter Michel Fortin: "Reporters are always looking for newsworthy items on which to report — that's what reporters do. But they specifically like human interest stories, stories that are related to current events or important issues, or those that have some emotional appeal.
Larger media also like stories that appeal to a wide audience. Targeted or specialized media, on the other hand, love to report on stories that appeal to their specific market and thus help capture more of it. In turn, they can qualify interested prospects far more effectively than some mainstream, large-circulation medium.
Of course, the foundational component of the news release is the news aspect. A good story must be newsworthy for it to be considered.
While there are thousands of ways to present a news release, there is no one 'correct' way of doing it. There are as many different ways to present a news release as there are publications out there.
For example, in my experience the news release should not tell the entire story. If you do have a good story to tell, your news release should provide enough information to generate interest and it must say just enough to incite the media to want to know more."