1 Million Story Ideas Special: A Survival Guide for the Parents of Students

Over the past decade, digital tools and mobile platforms have rocketed journalism to a universe of innovation, interactivity and immediacy once unimaginable. Yet, without stellar content, journalism 2.0 is not worth the effort to read, watch, click on, scroll through, contribute to or connect with. Everything journalism was, is and will be rests on our ability to tell a story. And every story starts with an idea.

So let’s brainstorm.

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To help get you started, I have set up and regularly update the special page 1 Million Story Ideas for Student Journalists on my blog College Media Matters. It is aimed at inspiring student journalists to localize, adapt and reinvent a range of stories — quirky and mainstream, text-based and visual, interactive and investigatory.

Here is one example.

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Parent Survival Guide

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Along with putting together a regular survival guide for incoming students, the Niner Times at UNC Charlotte also publishes a separate guide for the parents of those soon-to-be-froshies. Parents are a fascinating — and let’s be honest — under-served audience base within college media. The Times guide advises the parental units on everything from visitor parking and properly addressing snail mail to textbook purchases, move-in day and care packages. Separate features remind them about various campus services available for their children and provide a brief history of the school and a quick look at the surrounding city.

Bottom line, a parent-focused issue is an interesting way to get advertisers’ attention, break in new or emerging staffers and reach out to a demographic hopefully intrigued enough to subsequently check out your website. (Niner Times, UNC Charlotte)

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For 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.

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