Story Ideas

Not sure where to find good story ideas? This post is for you!

what impact are you trying to make?

Stories should inform your audience so they can make better decisions. Stories should raise awareness and empathy. How will you use your platform?

Instead of only focusing on problems, look for opportunities to showcase solutions to empower your audience to make their communities better. Solutions journalism takes a basic story one step further by showing how people are addressing common problems. This requires understanding context and patterns. Most stories are part of a larger issue.

Examples

The refugee crisis can seem so big and overwhelming. Instead of desensitizing your audience by only showing huge refugee camps, you can humanize refugees by interviewing one of the kids integrating into a new culture by riding bikes with them. Show them as people who are just like you and me.

Here’s a great example of how Yusuf Omar showcased people cleaning up their community. These positive stories perform way better online because people are more likely to share uplifting stories than depressing ones. Focus on solutions.

Child labor is a huge problem that often goes uncovered. Here’s how he turned a problem into a solution. He showcased a shelter that helps former child laborers learn English and self defense:

Instead of only reporting on homelessness, teach your audience about resources. Where are the local shelters? Did you know there are many parking lots where homeless people can sleep safely in their cars? How can your audience donate money, clothing, or time?

USF Story Ideas

Check USF’s social media platforms:

twitter youtube linkedin instagram snapchat

Many USF departments and colleges also have compelling content on their social media platform that can inspire great story ideas.

Tampa Bay story ideas

You can use events to spark ideas for stories you’d like to turn into a feature. Instead of covering the event itself, consider the stories inside the event. What’s the organization hosting the event? Who are the people attending the event? Do they have compelling stories your audience would be interested in? Is there a larger story that’s bigger than the event itself?

For example, February is Black History Month. You could find a Black History event and develop an evergreen story idea out of that event instead of just covering what’s happening that day.

  • Is there a relevant event you can attend where you can shoot b-roll and find people to interview about why we need to recognize this month?
  • How has education changed in local black communities in the past few decades?
  • Perhaps you can feature an inspiring person who is making a big impact on their community.
  • You could feature a black-owned business that’s a staple in the community.
  • Perhaps you can look at the increase in hate crimes these past couple of years and do a data journalism story?
  • What can your audience do to promote racial justice?
  • Explain the new gentrification in Tampa Heights.
  • Which judges are perpetuating the cycle of unjust sentencing? What should your viewers know about these judges before they vote?

There are stories everywhere waiting to be told. Let an event be a starting point, then take a few more steps, do a little more research, and find an angle you’re passionate about.

Please bounce ideas off me or let me know if you have any questions.

I also encourage you to develop story ideas using these resources:

Featured image credit: USF

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