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Feed the Beast: Finding Ideas to Write About

October 29, 2013
Personalizing your Google News can help you find story ideas.

Personalizing your Google News can help you find story ideas.

The Skyline View staff frequently runs into a problem that perhaps other staffs run into as well.  As in they are constantly trying to find ways to “feed the beast” that is their online and print publications, yet they frequently find themselves running out of fresh ideas.

What they haven’t yet learned is that ideas abound.  Every time they speak to another person, they have potential ideas staring at them in the face.  Sure, some staffers are better at this than others.  These staffers recognize stories when they come across them.  But others haven’t worked that muscle enough.

These ideas and resources can help:

  • If you have a Google account, personalize your news for several categories that pertain to your publication.  For example, TSV staffers add “California Community Colleges” to the categories they want to get news on when they are at the Google News page.
  • Follow up on stories you’ve already done.  Whatever happened to that professor who was signed up to bike across the U.S. for AIDS research? Did that fellow who was charged with car theft on campus ever get convicted? Every story can beget more stories.
  • Read other publications and localize the topics they cover.  Has another news site done a story on their campus’s readiness for a natural disaster? Take the story idea and find out what your campus is doing to prepare.
  • Make it a habit to read blogs like Higher Education News/Inside Higher Ed.  You’ll find out what the issues are on campuses across the U.S., many of which you can localize to your own campus publication.
  • Read 1 Million Story Ideas for Student Journalists.  ‘Nuff said.

Obviously, this is just scratching the surface on how to get story ideas.  How do you feed the beast?

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