Monday, May 17, 2010

Finding your focus

As you look toward offering story ideas for the institute's online publication, keep in mind focus and feasibility.

First, you won't have all that much time to report and illustrate your stories. Second, consider who is most likely to read an online publication put together by participants in the Reynolds Institute.

My suggestion: Both of these considerations can be addressed by concentrating on stories tied to the institute, its surroundings and its participants. Topics related to journalism, high school news organizations and the future of news are feasible because you'll have ready access to sources who can speak to these subjects and a calling card to use with others in the news business. Reading the institute's agenda closely and following links in the syllabus to trade publications should yield focused ideas.

If you want to take on an issue in the community surrounding the Reynolds Institute, think focus. You aren't going to get to the bottom of the immigration issue in your time here, for example, but are there focused ideas within that topic that you can develop? You bet. Do keep in mind that stories get more and more difficult to execute the farther you get from the institute and its immediate surroundings.

Reading bios of your fellow participants can yield ideas as well.

(Public domain graphic courtesy of U.S. Office of Government Ethics)

Steve Elliott
Arizona State University


  1. I think this will be a great challenge for us all,especially considering the fact that we are coming from all over the country. I am thinking about doing an article on meeting deadlines. This is especially important to me because my school paper is extra-curricular (no class time to devote to it)and is produced weekly. The challenges of meeting dealines are many. I have a group of students that help print off the paper in house, another group depends on printing to be finished on time so that the paper can be collated and distributed by lunch hours on Friday.

  2. Wow a weekly paper. I struggle to make deadlines on a monthly basis. I am excited to hear how you accomplish a weekly publication.

  3. My Superintendant and Principal were enough impressed with the progress I was able to make with our paper this year that there is talk of making it a triple threat: The Warden District News (sent out to postal patrons), an online link through the district's webpage and a weekly high school only sheet. I will have an entirely new staff, some of whom want to be in the class and like to write. It will be an interesting year, to say the least. I am looking forward to pulling it off, however. Nunn