Seeking story ideas…

I will now state the obvious: there are stories everywhere. Everyone has a story in them. Look out your window, in a mirror, anywhere. Turn brain on to questioning mode…step outside of your box and pretend the world is new. Now – take a hard look and see how many stories you can come up with.

In order to tell a story, you need data…a foundation. Too many (broadcast) newsrooms rely on the print media doing the footwork and they all walk the same walk. All media follows the big story, the one you can’t miss.

Real storytellers find worthy stories everywhere.

I’m sitting at my kitchen table and am giving myself the next five minutes to come up with a few ideas as a challenge.

So here goes.

Idea number one (and I’m sure this has gotten play already) – spent Saturday garage sailing with the husband. Kind of fun…and the estate sales are best because of the oddities and antiques. Pause for a moment…an estate sale is the remnants of a person’s life. What the family…friends…those who knew the person felt wasn’t worth keeping, for whatever reason. I see a slow, somber move with details…questions. Who was this person? Why did they buy this particular knick-knack? Was it passion? A trinket for a child? A gift with meaning only known to the deceased?

Idea number two…and I’m running outa time here cause I’m typing slowly (for me). I bought two magazines a few days back. Don’t laugh. Chickens magazine and The Herb Quarterly. I swear twenty years ago I might never have seen these rags. And I recall something from the past month or so about how magazines are faring pretty well compared to other media. Hmmm…Are there more niche zines out there? Are the actual number of magazines increasing in these dire times? Heck, let’s even ask if in addition to more mags if the total number of magazine readers is up…maybe take a look at early mags (when exactly did this medie become mainstream?) and their evolution.

Either of these ideas could be taken in many other directions. Just follow one magazine and its readers. See if there are any local/regional mags. Talk with family members about stuff in the sale…neighbors. Juxtapose what is left of their life with a re-telling of their life story.

Time is up…but the lesson here is approach everything with a questioning mind. My ideas are smears…roughs, undeveloped. Given more time, more ideas and hopefully more solid ones. Hopefully one day you’ll be the leader…not of a pack, but of the new generation of VJs producing original stories.

Warning: in real life this does not always work. If you’re stuck in a pack-mentality newsroom, original thinking can get you banned to the weekend ghetto or banned from the morning meeting. Hmmm…is that necessarily a BAD thing?

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