How to formulate story ideas.

When I started my journalism training, it was pressed upon us that, from day one, we would be writing for publication.
That’s something I struggle with; coming up with ideas continually. So: what to do? (Apart from writing a blog post, that is.)

Go and look at Journalism resources.

Journalism resources, for journalists in training, are brilliant. Even if they are defunct, there’s usually a wealth of material for you to use. (It could serve as inspiration, or you could have a go at something that’s suggested-such as an FOI request-and document it.) Jump For Journalism is one I would recommend (I use to contribute to it, under the name of Annette Stevens). Hello Hygge also has a wealth of previous posts about Journalism.

Take note of diary stories. 

On Twitter, there’s always something like “National cake day”.. You could always write something, cobble together a few quotes, and pitch it.

Get a journo mate.

The best ideas come when you are on your break, I think. But your ‘journo mates’ often have the best stories, or even a tip off occasionally. (Read this post from Jump For Journalism.) There’s a particular classmate, and her stories fascinate me. (You can see her blog here.) My guess is that she may end up being a court reporter-she has a lot of stories for us-and you can read more about it here. 

Social media; use it. 

People are always promoting their work and causes. Contact them, and ask for a quote; then stitch the article together. Job done. Oh, and blogs are also something I think you should make an effort to follow, like Criddle Me This. 

Newspaper and magazine clippings. 

Cut out a NIB (News in brief-the stories of 25 words or less, usually down the side of a page.) Allow this to act as an inspiration basis, therefore jotting down your ideas. It could be questions related to the article, or even an idea springing from one particular word.

Network, network, network!

If you are at an event, and you meet a fellow journalist, talk to them. Engage. Give them a business card. Ask them what their latest story is, or what they are currently writing.


You could report about or review an event you went to. Or the event could maybe serve as a fact finding event. (For instance: I was gutted when told I could not attend Christmas in July; I was thinking I could therefore put together a piece like “the 9 best Christmas deals for….”) Review a concert, report what happened at a council meeting..


Is there something bugging you? Does it have you outraged, passionate? Then write about it. It could be for a blog, a column.

Freedom of information. 

This is a wonderful piece of legislation. I cannot stress this enough. Think of a story you wish to write-“Noise complaints on the rise for the fifth year”-and ask for the information needed. Stuc for ideas? Then read this. 

Lydia XO

1 Comment

  1. Lena Dee
    January 23, 2018 / 5:25 pm

    These are some great tips esp using social media to get reliable quotes. & for anything these days esp I believe networking will always be the key! Great work post 🙂

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