1 Million Story Ideas Special: 73 Questions, Vogue’s Q&A with A-Listers
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.
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.
Vogue is earning a minor burst of fashionable buzz for its “73 Questions” series. On spec, it seems intent on reinventing — or at least slightly upending — the typical celebrity Q&A. Among the most noticeable tweaks: the purposefully odd (and high) number of queries, the rapid-fire style in which they are delivered and answered, the continuous-single-shot filming and the mini-walking tours (and even Ping Pong-playing) that occur along the way.
Now, yes, these A-list tête-à-têtes do seem a tad rehearsed and err on being speedy over in-depth (in one chat Blake Lively reveals her mother once brought home a CHILD from a yard sale — the interviewer immediately races to the next question instead of asking, umm, why). But the series does deserve some praise for at least attempting to liven up a staid format (the dreaded, done-to-death, blah-tastic Q&A) — and it is worthy of a campus adaptation.
Explore ways to more innovatively present interviews with intriguing and influential students, faculty and staff at your college or university. While the question amount and filming style should be unique to your outlet and right for your coverage area, consider keeping Vogue’s “73 Questions” bottom-line focus of asking “some of our favorite personalities … what they like, what they hate and most importantly — what they know.”
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.