Many contributors struggle with the idea of "creating new stories" -it's not always an easy task. Many of us find it easier to highlight another story, add in some commentrary to frame the article, post...and move on. This isn't "creating a new story" -it's adding commentary on current or old news. While it can be a lot of fun and great for debate, sometimes we could all use something fresh.
I know what you are thinking "How am I supposed to get the scoop on something before the local media?" -my response: stop thinking "scoop" and start thinking "story". Story? Yes, story. It's easy in today's fast paced Internet driven world to think we need to be first to cover something huge, but that's not the way you need to think to write "new stories" for NowPublic. One of the wonderful things here is: you tell NP what's important.
- You can go to town-hall meetings and report on the events, maybe take photos when they allow. Tell the world what's going on in your small town.
- Did you just read a good book? Tell the world, write a review!
- Are you a student working on a research paper? Do you think it's something people shoud be talking about? Write about it!
- Do you belong to a local charity? Have you done something newsworthy? You decide...write about it!
- Was there a fire in your neighborhood? Write about it!
- Bad Weather? Write about it!
- If you want other ideas, check out this forum topic for slow news days!
Some things I have tried:
- I keep a small reporter-style notebook and pen with me nearly all the time -so I can jot down information to write about later (always helps to get the facts!).
- My cell phone has a camera, I have a small digital camera and I even tend to lug around a 35mm camera...just in case.
- Recently I posted a story about a concert I attended. The back story is almost as interesting, but I left it out of the posting. I have been shooting photos of bands in small venues for quite some time, on occasion I do promotional photos and CD photos, design/layouts. On of the bands I had seen live I met through a friend of a friend. Every time they come into town I take photos and bring new friends to their shows. At a recent local show on of the band members mentioned they would be concluding their tour with Peter Frampton in a few weeks. I looked at my schedule -not to mention I was due for a vacation- and I bought a plane ticket to St Louis to catch the show. Despite shooting tons of small venues, I never had an official photo pass -until this show. I spent time backstage, in the dressing rooms, talking to roadies and bouncers...it was a great experience for me. I've been working on a book about musicians, but I have been on a break for some time...this was a nice way to jog my memory about it and see a good show.
The point is: you can find sources for news within your social circle. Your church, community center, your Facebook friends, anywhere. These people are your keys to information...something only you have!
- Driving to and from lunch I saw a group of protesters/strikers outside a car dealership. After the third day, I wondered what was going on -and I had yet to see anything on the news. So I walked up and asked one of the people holding a sign what was going on. I took some photos and returned on the weekend when they told me they would have more people out protesting. As it turned out, I ended up being the only "journalist" to come and cover the event. All I did was ask two questions "What's going on?" and "Is this a story?"
Simply walking around, it doesn't take long before you'll see something interesting; and it doesn't have to be a major event. Ask yourself "Is this a story?", if you think it is: write about it. Start small and ease into it. Eventually you just might find enough information to write a weekly feed on the events in your area...or you might catch that next major news story. Focus on the story, not the scoop. You'll find you'll get a lot less frustrated.
If you have tried something and it worked, or you think the experience could be helpful to others...tell us what you did and the process you took.