Generating story ideas

Young reporters often struggle to come up with ideas for news stories. Career advancement frequently relies on a reporter's ability to suggest – and then to develop – important news story ideas.

Your career development hinges largely on your ability to become a contribuiting member of the news team. An alert reporter who has been on a beat a few months has little difficulty suggesting stories, because the reporter soon learns that much more is going on within the beat than he or she can report on in the course regular assignments. This alert report then suggests to his or her editor stories that the editor has not thought of. In the course of time the editor begins to rely on the reporter for story ideas.

New reporters, however, seldom start on a regular beat. As a new reporter, you become a regular contributor to the news budget through diligent, persistent and active surveillance of the "news landscape." This means that you are reading a lot – every day. You are reading the products of the top news teams in the nation, your state, and the world. And you are monitoring (using the Web, personal visits, the telephone and any other way you can) the activities and the products of news makers in your area.

For this class you must contribute

Prior to each news budget meeting you are asked to hand in a description of a story you think is worth developing, and you are asked to pitch that story to your editor and sometimes to the rest of the class.

Use the links at the left hand side of the page to feed your imagination. The top links take you to sites on the Tech campus where you can find out what various Tech organizations have scheduled, who they are and what mission and purpose is. The bottom links are to various news Web sites. One way to generate story ideas is to monitor state, national and international news and to ask yourself the question "what does this story mean to the Tech community?"

Practice regular surveillance of the news, and you will be in a good position to develop meaningful story ideas.