Looking for story ideas

by Andy Boyle.

Hey all. As some of you might know, I received a fellowship to work as a reporter at the Omaha World-Herald next semester out of their Lincoln bureau.

Part of my job will be to find stories off the beaten path, or what we call in the biz “enterprise stories.” This means I won’t be covering press conference, legislative bill introductions, city council, county board, school board, or any other kind of meetings. No police and fire siren chasing. I’m looking to do as many stories with computer-assisted reporting as I can.

As one editor said: “(You) will produce articles that will be unique to the World-Herald. Scoops. Enterprise angles on issues in the news. Features. Profiles. Trends. There probably will be stories involving the Legislature or local governmental entities, but these stories will be enterprising angles to some issue.”

Stories that don’t normally make it into the newspaper. Good things. Bad things. People doing wrong, people doing okay.

So, my job is to come up with two interesting story ideas a week. Right now I’m trying to get a good list of stories, to pick your brain for what you want to read in the paper. No story is too dumb, too lame or whatever. Pitch anything and everything to me.

Here are some things to give you an idea what could be a story:

  • Know a local business that’s doing something really innovative, or just plain interesting and hasn’t ever been covered before?
  • Know anyone, including yourself, who has perhaps gotten royally screwed over by “the man,” whomever the man might be?
  • Do you work in government and know if something shady is going on? Even something small, like people using first-rate mail all the time instead of sending it normal postage.
  • Is there something in your neighborhood that’s not getting taken care of? Pot holes, signs missing, a dead body lying on the curb?
  • Is the university screwing you over in some way, or are they doing something you don’t appreciate?

If any of these jar your brain for a story idea, let me know. If you want to tell me something in confidence and not be the source for why I know something, that’s fine, too. You can reach me at andymboyle (at) g mail dot com