Boothe's 4202 Blog

How the Internet and Technology is changing Editing

New generation of tools available to generate story ideas

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For some new writers, finding story ideas isn’t just a burden they are resigned to carry. They want to place it on others.

“Well, what should I write about?”

Unfortunately, I hear that question about once a day in the Alligator sports office when newer beat reporters want someone, like me, who is not going to their interview sessions and watching all of the games, to feed them an idea.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing annoying or irresponsible about running an angle past an editor or co-worker, but to not have a clue of what to write about the day before the story is due? A reporter can’t let idea generation wait that long.

There are too many resources available through the Internet these days. Sites like Listorious and HARO can easily keep reporters in the loop with trending topics and can even provide solid stories. Even places like Reddit, which I generally go to for entertainment, have the potential to get the creative juices flowing.

Looking at UF athletes’ Twitter accounts are also a great way to see how those participating in the sport are reacting to the ups and downs of a season.

In the future, perhaps story ideas can be fueled by citizen journalist-types who post their pitches to a reporter’s blog. Even now, sports journalists should scan fan forums of the team they’re covering to find out what their readership wants to hear more about. Occasionally, there may actually be a story idea in there too.


After a couple quick searches on Listorious for University of Florida news, two story ideas immediately popped out at me once I linked to the college’s Twitter.

1. UF researchers have created a new type of trap for the common house fly called the Florida Fly-Baiter that, because of its blue tint, is three times more effective than the standard yellow colored trap on the market today.

Anyone who has lived in a Gainesville apartment knows that house flies, especially in the summer months, can be a battle to keep outside and any new technology on bug control to prevent infiltration would be a popular subject.

For sourcing, a reporter should talk to the four researchers and see if any larger companies are interested in their breakthrough. Also, the press release stated that the Department of Defense provided funding for the project. Talking to one of the DOD’s representatives or a current soldier about how better fly or bug control could help battle-field situations could be interesting as well.

The story’s art could range from a picture of the researchers with their invention to a graphic of how many more house flies the Florida Fly-Baiter can kill compared to a standard fly trap.

2. For the second straight year, UF’s Peace Corps program ranks among the highest in the nation, according to the National Peace Corps Association.

The program has jumped from 15th-place in the ranking in 2009, to second overall this year in membership numbers and participation. UF has 101 undergraduate students involved in the Peace Corps – twice the amount of any other Southeast school – and also has 30 graduate students.

With the program’s rising participation numbers, it would be interesting to interview new members to see what has sparked their membership. A reporter could also talk to older members to find out how the UF Peace Corps has grown and changed since they started.


Written by jboothe

February 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Good re Rubric
    Could have used a bit more outside readings aggregatin.
    Story ideas could be better developed – also, recall the thinking online instruction
    One edit issue:
    15th-place in the ranking
    15th place in the ranking

    Ronald R. Rodgers

    February 15, 2012 at 7:12 pm

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