28 Days of Story Ideas, #10: Guns, Swords, Skull Fragments & Banned Campus Items

Guns, swords, knives, grenades, a suicide bomber’s vest, a rocket launcher, a bazooka round, cannonballs and parts of a human skull.

These were among the odder and more dangerous items confiscated from passengers in 2013 by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at airports nationwide. As a TSA blog shares about the skull: “While searching clay pots in a checked baggage location at Fort Lauderdale (FLL), our officers discovered human skull fragments! While the fragments weren’t a security threat, they did slow screening down a bit since the area quickly became a crime scene!”


For a similar report of your own, change the scene from the airport to your home campus. What items are banned from residence halls, classroom buildings, sports arenas, dining halls and the campus at large? Why are they banned? What are the punishments for those who break the rules and are discovered to have sneaked things in? And what happens to the items?

Beyond mere confiscation, how about what is lost? What items currently sit unclaimed in the lost-and-found pile at the campus security center? What are the rules for how long and how closely they are guarded? And what about leftovers — items and food not eaten by day’s end or not removed from dorm rooms at year’s end? Are they tossed, recycled, grabbed by staff or donated locally?

5For more ideas, check out 1 Million Story Ideas for Student Journalists, a quick-hit, unending, hopefully indispensable, fun, fun, fun digital story ideas fountain.

Also order a copy of my book Journalism of Ideas: Brainstorming, Developing, and Selling Stories in the Digital Age. Dubbed “the next new mandatory text for college journalists,” it features advice from hundreds of contributors, lots of digital storytelling tips, tons of story ideas and more than 300 games aimed at sparking you to come up with endless ideas of your own.





1 Million Story Ideas for Student Journalists

28 Days of Story Ideas, #1: Beyonce, Jay-Z & ‘Celebrity Courses’

28 Days of Story Ideas, #2: Super Bowl Commercials & College Ad Campaigns

28 Days of Story Ideas, #3: Groundhog Day & the College Routine

28 Days of Story Ideas, #4: A Postal Holiday & Some Campus Mail Fun

28 Days of Story Ideas, #5: ‘Saturday Night Live’ & the Party AFTER the Party

28 Days of Story Ideas, #6: Reporting on Your Campus Like It’s a Foreign Country

28 Days of Story Ideas, #7: The Sochi Olympics, Campus Security & LGBTQ Rights

28 Days of Story Ideas, #8: The Sochi Olympics, Stray Animals & Humans vs. Zombies

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