Wick Communications

There are 1,001 good ideas

In Ideas on January 23, 2010 at 9:45 am

Somehow I am lucky enough to have in my possession a copy of Kenneth Bronson and R. Joe Sullivan’s “1,001 News Ideas.” Don’t know how I acquired it but I’m not giving it back. (That’s Mr. Bronson above – he was inducted into the Kansas Press Association Hall of Fame in 2002.)

It’s primarily a collection of story ideas, most of them things right under your nose that you nonetheless might not have thought of yourself. For instance:

Religion

Preacher’s kids

Any time

The children of the minister are expected to be models of behavior, but the fact is they are just kids. Interview some… Do your readers get more incensed when they see a story about a preacher’s kid in trouble?…

Don’t like that idea? There are 1,000 more where that came from. They are not tied to any news of the day, though they would all, far as I can tell, still make a good news story.

Look, the best newspaper work generally riffs off the news of the day. There are 1,001 more timely stories that might crowd out Bronson’s and Sullivan’s ideas on any given day. But then there are those days when you just can’t think of good things to write about – and, as an editor, there is little that bothers me as much as a writer who can’t think of anything to write.

So here’s what you do. Starting today, keep your own list, or maybe a tickler file, with potentially useful information about these ideas. You may wonder if any jobs will be lost when your supermarket finally gives up plastic bags or how many miles your local postman logs on a given round or what car salesmen have to say about the impact the color of the car has on car-buying decisions… There are a million ideas. Start saving them.

Clay

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