The Art of Story Development Journalism 350 Story Ideas and Development
Where to get ideas? • Read everything you can get your hands on about the world and your locale. • Set up an RSS feed and Google alerts so info comes to you. • Eavesdrop – coffee houses, restaurants, Union, elevators and Twitter.
Where to get ideas? • Ask people – What’s on your mind? What gets you mad? What would you change? What issues are you passionate about? • Friends, classmates, roommates, teachers, secretaries, people standing in lines, etc.
Types of stories • Issue-oriented stories • Trend stories • Reaction to national or international stories – localizing • Breaking news (expected and unexpected)
How to cultivate ideas • Cultivate your sense of curiosity. • You need to spend quality quiet time – off-the-grid time – thinking about ideas and how you’d develop them. In car; laptop in quiet place. • Get in the habit of getting in the zone – GYT • Read stories with a critical eye – think about how the story was developed and who the reporter chose to interview. Critique them. Was that the best way to present the information? How could you tell the story differently?
Think creatively • Always be thinking about different approaches you might take. Pot holes. • Benefits of good ideas – weary editors. Interns, on the job.
Twitter • You have to spend time wading through the garbage but there are gems. • Pet food bank • Entrepreneurial pitch night • How local moms are using the iPhone
Develop a pitch • After you come up with an idea, try to visualize the story. Who would you talk to? What type of approach would be best? • You’ll need to make some calls to sources to flesh out the idea and really nail down the focus. • You’ll need to gather a lot of information to write a pitch, which essentially is the nut graph of your story.
Pitches • For each pitch: • Include the basics of the story • Include statistics, if applicable • Start with a sentence that’s to-the-point • Include the “so what” – why should we care • Keep it short.
Why write a pitch • Helps you visualize and focus on the story. • Helps your editor “sell” the story.
Some examples • Handout
Story pitches • How to pitch a story -- AP
Getting ideas • Google alerts • RSS
Using tech tools to your advantage • Twitter • Tweet Deck allows for multiple searches • TwitterLocal – search for local feeds.
Keeping track of info and tapping into others • Delicious
Info management • Zotero • Why you should use it. • Other information management tools.