1 Million Story Ideas Special: Suicidal Thoughts

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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Suicidal Thoughts

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1How does your school handle students who attempt suicide or discuss having suicidal thoughts — in the short-term and long-term? In an essay for The Yale Daily News, Yale University student Rachel Williams writes candidly about discussing her suicidal thoughts and an act of self-inflicted cutting with a school counselor. Her disclosure quickly spiraled without her control into a fairly degrading stay in a psychiatric hospital and a forced temporary removal from Yale — the latter decision made by an individual who had very limited contact with her.

As a university hospital psychiatrist told her at one point about her chances to remain at Yale, “Well, the truth is, we don’t necessarily think you’ll be safer at home. But we just can’t have you here.”

According to the Student Press Law Center, “The practice of academically withdrawing students who demonstrate suicidal tendencies is more common than many expect. … Finding out about whether colleges have involuntary withdrawal policies that apply to students who demonstrate a risk of suicide can be difficult. Student handbooks are a good first place to look for policies that apply at your own school, but journalists should also ask colleges whether they have other policies or forms not detailed in handbooks. It’s also possible your school may keep statistics on how many students are withdrawn or expelled each year because of mental health concerns.” (The Yale Daily News, Yale University)

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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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