1 Million Story Ideas Special: ‘Big Talk’

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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‘Big Talk’

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Northwestern University freshman Kalina Silverman isn’t interested in making small talk. Instead, she is determined to engage individuals on and around the NU campus in what she calls “big talk,” discussions centered on strangers’ “responses to bigger life questions, like ‘What do you want to do before you die?’”

Silverman sees the reporting series/social movement as a means of connecting with strangers, building community and diving into deeper questions worth pondering instead of the “How ’bout this weather?” chatter we all too often resort to in a pinch among unfamiliar faces.

To spur big talks on your own campus, what questions would you ask your fellow students, faculty and staff?

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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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