Story Ideas seminar spark ideas in students


Students write down lists of story ideas over various topics given.

Students scribble down a list of stories.

High School Journalism Institute (HSJI) instructor and Floyd Central journalism advisor Jim Lang taught a class during the first session of HSJI regarding story ideas. Lang said to the class his goal by the end of the session was that the students would not only have methods to come up with unique and different story ideas, but also that they would go home with a few of their own.

Some ideas that Lang shared included hallway or event walks, asking about other’s interests, and keeping a list of possible stories. Lang said it’s also very important to find the significance and emotion behind the news.

“Put a face on it,” Lang said. “If you can’t put a face on a story I don’t care. You have to find a way to make us feel empathy. You have to find a way to make people feel how they’re feeling. Don’t just report the news, help us understand the significance of the news.”

Harrison High School junior Jack Gillespie attended Lang’s session. Gillespie said he is now encouraged to look for new stories in places he didn’t look before. There is more to many stories than what you just see at first.

“The best thing I got from it is discovering that if you look at a subject’s face value you’re not going to get any stories,” Gillespie said. “If you just really think about it and go into places that people don’t look into much more, you’ll get a bunch of new stories that you didn’t think you could get right at first.”

Lang finds a link between story ideas and content. According to Lang, the more focused stories are towards the uniqueness of the community surrounding students, the more accurate the representation of the area it is.

“I think story ideas are related to content,” Lang said. “You have to have really unique story ideas to set your newspaper apart from all other student newspapers. Also, your school and community is unique and by the very nature of that fact, your newspaper and your news coverage should be too. I shouldn’t see the same generic stories in any student newspaper because it’s not an accurate reflection of how unique your school situation is.”