Cronkite Summer Journalism Institute 2012
One issue journalists everywhere deal with is, “What should I write about?” When working on a deadline, journalists often must seek out their own stories.
Follow these tips to be successful in the journalism industry, whether one is a sports writer or working on a political beat.
1. Utilize social media. Twitter is especially useful- use the search tool to find various story ideas, arrange interviews and conduct research.
2. Brainstorm. Write down any story idea that comes to mind. There is no such thing as a bad idea.
3. Look at a current newspaper. Is there a current story that you want to add a new perspective or twist on?
4. Drive down the street. Find new stories by driving or walking along a major road. A construction sign begs the question, “What’s the construction plan?”
Remember, everyone faces writer’s block now and then. Even professionals struggle sometimes.
However, once you come up with an idea, the key is to narrow the focus. There are always multiple perspectives to take on an issue, but form your story around the question, “Why should my audience care?” Sometimes other factors such as timeliness play a key part in whether or not your editors publish your story, so keep that in mind as well.
When you narrow your focus, the next step is actually writing the story. Journalists need to figure out who to interview, what to research, and how to write the story. Organization and planning are essential concepts.
Good luck, journalists!
– Nick D’Angelo