Please TIP this CUP

I have learned that TIP CUP matters more in my everyday dealings with individuals than it did in the classroom setting. And no I’m not talking about tipping over a glass of coffee onto your keyboard or document in frustration, but the type of tip cup where you impact others. TIP CUP was taught to me my first semester in college and it has been preached to me ever since. I often forget what the letters stands for but what matters most is remembering to send the right message to the right people at the right time.

After sitting-in on this media panel I soon realized how quickly individuals who send material to the media forget this simple rule of TIP CUP. When writing a news story TIP CUP is an acronym that stands for: Timeliness, Impact, Prominence, Conflict, Unique, Proximity, if these things are not included in the news story, than it probably shouldn’t be presented to the public. This being said, whenever I am asked to write a news story, a press release, or a feature story I have trained myself to find the “news side of it”, or at least to find the impact. It all circles back to sending the right message to the right people at the right time. I prefer to think of it as having all my ducks in a line before showing it to others.

For me though, the TIP CUP rule extends beyond the media and into my personal life, in everyday conversation. When I share information or others share information with me it’s normally something they think, matters (so it’s timely), they believe it will have an impact to me or for me, has prominence (the importance), it may not necessarily have conflict but it has that interest point that stands out to me, the material is unique and has proximity, making sure the material relates to me. These few statements run through all of our heads when we consider sharing some kind of information with someone else. Another way we do this sub-consciously is when we read an e-mail, for example and before we are even through with it we decide who we’re going to share that e-mail with. I think that TIP CUP shows how this basic rule applies to our everyday life.

The media panel was correct in reiterating the importance of making sure a news story has “news value” in it. Without much news value the critical parts the media are looking for are left out, and that information becomes pointless. I think by using TIP CUP when passing along any information one deems as valuable, whatever it is automatically becomes valuable. I know that I’ve been in that position when someone shares information with me and after I take the information in, I ask myself, now why was that relevant to me. So as a general rule of thumb, remember that same thumb has the capability to TIP a CUP over but the way you use that tipped cup becomes important.

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