Stories are everywhere. As our keynote speaker had said, “we swim in an ocean of stories.” The trick is knowing where to look and recognizing a story. Clay Scott generated a list of ideas that could lead to potentially great news and feature stories.
Although the majority of journalists like to talk and tell stories, Scott said that talking is the demon. If we want to find stories we need to be quiet and listen. If we listen long enough, we will hear an idea for a story. Also, listen between the lines. There may be a story right underneath what you are actually hearing.
The same goes for letters to the editors. There may be a story within someone’s complaint. Someone’s criticism can lead to another story idea. Follow up on the topics presented in letters.
Google works wonders. Google everything you can think of related to your school. The city. The school name. The mascot. Faculty members’ names. School presidents. You may uncover some dirt or just find an amusing story to tell.
Also talk to the university’s faculty. Talk to the people that have been at the school for the longest. They may know some hidden secret about the university. They may reveal some myth or superstition associated with the institution. These are just some more ideas for a news story.
Everyone has a story to tell. (This is my favorite idea from the session.) Have someone run his finger down the list of names in the student directory until another person says stop. Call whoever the finger lands on and tell this person you want to do a story on him. Keep this going. It can be a series. You never know what stories you will find.
Another potential series is “What’s in storage.” Go to the university library and see what archives they have in storage. Why are the preserved? Why are they not on display? See what stories you can uncover about the past and how they relate to the present…or even the future.
Check display cases and bulletin boards. Basically anything that advertises anything. Stories are waiting to be uncovered.