Story brainstorming

15 Feb

As a reporter, one’s always looking for their next great story. And that fantastic story can come from anywhere, at anytime.

No, but really. Running to the grocery store for milk or dropping the kids off at their Bible study? Places in your community are bursting with story ideas. While the places you run errands at have tons of inspiration, so does a city’s established institutions, such as the police department or the school board. One’s own town is full of story concepts. It’s as simple as looking at a store’s bulletin board.

Studies are constantly being published, but most reader’s don’t want to hear about a distant university’s findings on tree planting or a scientist’s discovery of toxins in some faraway lake. A good reporter knows these studies can quickly turn into an interesting article when localized. Taking research and showing how it affects readers of your publication will certainly make your article worth reading.

Then, there’s always the good ol’ Internet.

Simply Googling “news story ideas” gives a writer over a million sites to look at.

Some of the pages are blatantly titled “Story Ideas,” while others offer simple numbered lists of topics to write about. Government sites offer easy options of applying data to hometown issues, such as unemployment or CPI changes. Furthermore, websites have been developed to actually aid writers in their quests for story ideas, such as Reddit.

With such wonderful tools, writers can come up with long lists of pitches to give to their editors. However, with the multimedia aspect of publications, reporters no longer just carefully write a story. Instead, they must truly think about the full presentation of their words, from how they will look in print to how the story will be further developed on the Internet to how  an SEO headline will give it a chance to be seen around the world.


Story Idea – Gainesville’s unemployment rate in correlation with its homelessness rate

  • Everybody notices the large homeless community, but how does it affect Gainesville’s unemployment rate? With Santa Fe College and University of Florida bringing so many people to Gainesville, are students more likely to take low-level jobs from the homeless? By speaking with city officials who are trying to get the homeless employed and self-supporting, homeless people seeking jobs, those who were once homeless and found jobs and city and community members concerned about the employment rate, a more thorough picture could be painted.
  • Could be a week-long story idea, each day giving more information, such as what the city is doing or how seeking a job goes for someone who does not have a permanent address
  • Photos would include people in action, show the homeless population of Gainesville, show people seeking jobs, etc.
  • Multimedia features could film interviews, show city government officials in action, film a homeless person’s job search, etc.




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