1 Million Story Ideas Special: ‘Teach Me How to Hobby’

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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‘Teach Me How to Hobby’

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1Playing Dungeons & Dragons. Practicing yoga. Enjoying Japanese anime. And collecting cassette tapes. These are among the downtime activities and mini-obsessions featured in “Teach Me How to Hobby,” a fun series produced by The Daily of the University of Washington (the actual awesome full name of the UW student newspaper).

Each week, a Daily staffer explains the ins-and-outs of one of their own hobbies, providing a mix of personal anecdotes, background info and advice for interested readers on how they can indulge in the hobbies themselves. For example, as Haylee Millikan writes about getting started with yoga and meditation, “If you have never meditated before, I suggest sitting in a quiet place, in a chair or on the floor, with your tailbone tucked under you and your hands resting in your lap. Close your eyes. As you breath in, think, ‘I am aware that I am breathing in.’ As you breath out, think, ‘I am aware that I am breathing out.’”

Become more aware of the offbeat or under-the-radar hobbies enjoyed by students, faculty and staff at your school. Shoot for insights into the wacky and wonderful pastimes and collections taking up their free time now and what they were rapturous about during their childhood or high school days. My own students carried out a hobby deep-dive challenge recently and quickly ferreted out classmates who collect scrunchies, repeatedly watch old Disney Channel movies, constantly play Clash of Clans, frequently travel to Disney World and endlessly plan out their future dream wedding via Pinterest.

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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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