Story Ideas Training

About this Lesson

Judd Slivka
Assistant Professor, Convergence Journalism, Missouri School of Journalism, University of Missouri

The story is the currency of journalism. Generating them is at the heart of what journalism does. Without story ideas, we have no content. Even in today’s media atmosphere with newsrooms aggregating content, the idea of what a story is has to come from somewhere. Most original stories that the media produces are the result observation of data, incidents, trends or statements. What they have in common is they started as an idea.

What you will learn

After completing this unit, you should be able to:

• Identify ways to find stories

• Develop story ideas by audience

• Define the types of stories

• Map out a story’s path

• Use the Maestro method to develop a story’s presentation

• Know how to build a beat

How the lesson works

First of all, this is an asynchronous lesson unit, which means no live events are scheduled for this lesson. You can complete learning activities at your own pace whenever is convenient for you. Despite the asynchronous nature, the learning tasks are organized to help you succeed.

To be successful in this unit, please complete the following tasks:

• Watch the lecture.
• Take the quiz to test your own understanding.  This will help you to strengthen the concepts you just learned.
Optional: Due to the amount of content to be covered in a single unit, we encourage you read these additional resources. Some of the quiz questions might come from the readings in Additional Resources section.

Watch the Lecture



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 Take the Quiz


Direction: Some of the questions might from the readings in Additional Resources below


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Lesson Resources

Lecture Script: Download it here

Printable Quiz: Generating Story Ideas

ASNE Classroom Resources

Lessons: Generating Story Ideas

Additional Resources

BBC: “Original journalism: Finding stories

Steve Buttry, The Buttry Diary: “Finding and developing story ideas

Kenna Griffin, “12 tips for finding story ideas

Missouri School of Journalism, “Finding good story ideas

Tom Huang, “10 ways to find stories other journalists are missing

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