5 tips for finding a news story

I’ve talked a bit about what news is previously but that doesn’t cover how or where to find it. The problems with news is, well, that it’s new. You have to do a bit of digging to get to the really good stuff becasue chances are not many people are talking about it yet, and if they were, it wouldn’t be news!

So how do you go about finding news?

1) Listen to people.

social media
Use social media to find out what people are talking about. Jason Howie ©

News is people. So listen to people.
What are they talking about and where? In conversation between friends? In their front lawn with their neighbour? On social media? Scroll through your facebook or twitter feed and pay attention to trending lists. Someone you went to school with has won an award? That could be news – get in touch, find out what it was for and why they were in the running for it.

A good place to look for location specific news is Twitter. Log in, type the name of a city or borough into the search bar and see what people are talking about in those areas. A string of missing pets, local strikes or a residents rise to fame? You never know what you might find.

2) Watch the news.

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Keep up to date to avoid missing any developments. Jon S  ©

Even if someone else has beaten you to a new story you should be keeping up with what is going on in the world. You may find that you have heard a different angle on a story or it may give you ideas of where to look next for the latest developments. Was there a natural disaster in a specific city? A political blunder that will affect your home country? Well then, get out there and find out what haoppened next!

3) Don’t be afraid to ask.

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Get out there and talk to people. chrisd90  ©

Nothing happening in your area? How do you know if you haven’t asked anyone? So maybe it’s a slow news day, so what? Someone out there will have an opinion on something. Can you spin it into a news sotry?

VOX-POPs are a great way to get information for future stories. Find an interesting topic or development and ask people what they think about it. Chances are you’ll find a lot of people who don’t really have much to say but all you need is one good lead!

4) Look through research papers.

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Look through some journals to find the latest research. Lisa Nottingham ©

Want to write about recent developments in science? Sift through some science journals. Look at the most recent or most influential and find out which have already been covered and to what extent.

If you can, get in touch with the researchers and find out what they have to say about their work. Why are they doing it? How will it be of benefit? Is there a wider issue?

5) Keep a list of contacts.

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Keep your contacts up to date – you never know when you’re going to need them.

Do you have a bunch of old stories that never got revisited? Maybe one of them can be followed up to find out if anything new has developed. If you still have those contacts, use them. Find out if anything has changed since you last spoke to them about X. It probably has so is there a new story in it?

I think this is probably the most important thing to remember. A healthy contact list will be invaluable in your career so make sure to maintain it and add to it whenever you can. Don’t let your contacts gather dust, keep your links to people fresh and check in once in a while. Even if it’s just to say hi, you never know when a story might present itself.

Published by OwenL

Natural sciences communicator.

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