11/10/20 Where to find some great story ideas

Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS)
Student Journalist Participants

Roger Utnehmer, Director
WIPPS Student Journalism Program
920 495 9677

RE: Where to find some great story ideas.

Student journalist program participants will determine their success by taking initiative and suggesting to media partners their ideas for story content.

Thinking of what to write about can be challenging.  I’d like to share suggestions that may help you start the process of getting approval for a story idea from your media partner, conducting the interview, writing the story and submitting it for broadcast or publication.

I’ve always admired the success of USA Today.  Gannett published one of the most successful newspapers in the history of the industry.  Part of that success was that USA Today was the most researched and focus-group-tested start-up newspaper in the history.

For many years I used the USA Today model of four sections as a guide to building a good radio newscast.  One hard news story, a lifestyle story, a sports story and rather than Money we encouraged our reporters to write about local business news.

The WIPPS student journalism program is focusing on news rather than sports.  That means that stories that can be considered hard news, lifestyle reports and local business news are areas to consider when thinking about what to write.

Here are some ideas for your consideration.

Hard News:

…Covid:  How is your school and/or your community coping?  How is Covid impacting education?  Do students feel they are getting the quality instruction they need?  Are students confident that the recently-announced Pfizer vaccine will be accepted by the general public?

…Election:  Are minority students in your school optimistic that the Biden-Harris win will result in more inclusion and acceptance people of color?  Is racism a problem in your school/community?  What can be done to create more diversity?

Lifestyle News:

…How are various clubs and organizations functioning in your school during Covid?  What are the interesting clubs and organizations in your school?  Athletics is often covered but students, parents, and taxpayers may be interested in knowing about non-athletic programs that are operating in area schools.

Local Business News:

…How are popular restaurants meeting the challenges presented by Covid?

…How there examples of local businesses who have actually benefited by the change in lifestyle caused by Covid?

I will reach out to our Wausau area students with a specific local business news item suggested by one of our media partners this week.

Please feel free to share YOUR suggestions and be creative as you consider appropriate topics for your stories.

I’m available by email or phone to talk about anything that can help.