1 Million Story Ideas Special: ‘Notes From My Journal’

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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‘Notes From My Journal’

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1University of California, Berkeley student Anya Schultz is currently obsessed with lists. As she explains in The Daily Californian, “They seem to force themselves on me. Lists. Like my day will be more concrete if I write on my notes app on my iPhone or — better yet! — an actual notebook: a small notebook, 3-inch by 3-inch I bought at a quaint Williamsburg bookstore because I have thoughts. Not just thoughts, but creative thoughts!”

Schultz is contributing these thoughts as part of “Notes From My Journal,” a Daily Cal series “in which contributors share excerpts from their private journals, diaries and notebooks.”

Following in the spirit of Schultz’s excerpt, round up some (intellectually) juicy journal and diary entries created by students at your college or university. Also consider being even more proactive by approaching students with a notebook of your own and asking for their random in-the-moment thoughts and observations on a blank page. Or seek out private-ish confessions or exclamations on students’ blogs or social media spaces — only reposting with full permission of course.

The ultimate goal, at least the one the Daily Cal series seems intent on achieving: presenting a slice-of-life student perspective, unvarnished, possibly even slightly nonsensical, but definitely real. (The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley)

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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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