12 Ways Borno Reporters Can Generate Ideas for Award Winning Stories
By Blogger (Abdulkareem Haruna)
I have always said that telling a story is not a rocket science. Even if it is, rememer that rocket was made by human and it all started from a simple idea.
But don't worry, in news story telling no one needs to bother about the supersonic speed. But of course journalists must be mindful that the world is on the fast lane and ideas of telling different stories every day must be matched with speed. Yes. Speed of thought.
It is said that the best writers "see a world full of story ideas."
Good writers are usually having a big problem - They have too many ideas and a little space to put then to practice.
As journalists, we, in many situations, depend on our editors or senior colleagues to formulate story ideas for us. We seldom sit down to scribble our own story ideas outside the breaking news or happenings in our beats.
Sometimes we are dumbfounded when our editor gives us an early morning call that "guy what are you working on this week?"
Sometimes we simply sit down and said nothing is happening in town...the governor is out of town...or the assembly is on recess...or it is weekend and the town is dry.."
Honestly, even yours sincerely is sometimes guilty of this.
But do you know that there are many things that are happening outside the box of our normal routines? Those areas we ignore as normal are actually story Wells. That shoe shiner, that wrist watch fixer in Post office area of Maiduguri, that butcher, the clinics, the prison yard, those so called touts in motor parks, those local vigilante and those guys hawking oranges on wheelbarrow can be amazing sources of great news story?
Yes, they are, if only we can open our eyes. If we can just look outside the box of out normal routine.
Let me not bore you,
But here are some 10 working tips, as espoused by experts, that can help us churn out great stories from simple ideas.
If we can use them we need not wait for editors to prompt us any more.
1.Break your routine.:
Instead of driving in your car to work some times let the car rest and take Keke Napep (commercial tricycle). Take that long route instead of the short cut you've taken to work for many years. By doing that you will probably see things new and of interest.
2. Listen to local radio, like BRTV, Peace FM or read local news paper online or the hard copy: You will definitely come across some items worth following up on.
3) Try read a book or paper on topics unfamiliar to you:
This is also a great source for story ideas.
4. Always have a small note pad to jot down momentary story ideas, or possible headline or topic that comes to your minds so that you can remember them later.
5. Read public billboards, posters, handbooks etc: They are good sources of information about happenings around you.
6. Spend a day with a person whose job interests you: That mechanic or mason may be loaded with tales (verifiable naratives) you cannot resist.
7. Interview young people around you as well as the very old ones too. Their stories may not be the trending ones, but they could be compelling and powerful.
8. Just once in a while try hang around public places like shopping centres, hospitals, government secretariats and watch people walk or talk. This may lead you to great ideas about the public newds concerns.
9. Spend a time in a book shop, Indomie joint; places like Wulari police mess or trailer park in Maiduguri. That's where all kinds of gists fly around. You dont really necessarily have to drink or smoke while there. A bottle of coke and hot pepper soup can earn you a gisting partner.
10. Try eat your lunch outside your work place cafe. You might run across someone with hot gist in town. People like sharing their experiences especially if they are eyewitnesses.
11. Follow-up on Claims:
Government, NGOs, CSOs often make bogus claims on accomplishments, Intervention or advicacy outreach programmes. Take time off to revisit such claims, scrutinise the budget, go to project sites, you will be amazed the great story ideas you'll come across.
12. Make IDP camps a place of routine visit. You will always have great stories - issues like IDP's adopted coping mechanisms, child birth, marriages, trading in camps, etc, could inspire impactful and award winning reports.
*These are just few ways you can help yourself generate story ideas that will wow your editors and thrill your readers.
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