Monday, June 14, 2010

Story Mapping - Gulf Oil Spill

The Foundation: Story Ideas

Strongest stories offer this: How does issue/event affect me?

HUMAN INTEREST -- creates value for your readers

Focus = ANGLE

Focus: Story Mapping

Sub-topics to help focus ideas:

• Economic Consequences

• Fixing the problem

• Environment

Link to English: "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy

Also, using props to help generate story ideas!

I really enjoyed these exercises because it really made some ways to grab students attention in a fun, creative way. I have been brainstorming and students have been coming with junk -- the meaty stories were more from one-to-one conversations... So, thanks for helping me to think of better ways to help my students. One question that I have is when do I allow editors to lead discussion and knowing when to jump in to steer kids to a better focus. I really want my students to have a true journalism experience and to allow my editors to truly make most of the decisions, but sometimes I hear about a bad focused story when I receive the 1st draft or sometimes the 2nd draft.

Tracey Ward

Olentangy Liberty High School

Powell, Ohio


  1. I really enjoy this exercise too. I think it will be very helpful in the classroom. Thinking of story ideas has been a time-consuming activity for my staff. Story mapping will be helpful because I come from a rural district, hard news is so difficult to come with.

    Leona O'Neal
    George County High School
    Lucedale, Miss

  2. I think that once your students go through a few story-mapping exercises the mapping will give way to conversations that drill down to newsy, focused and feasible ideas relevant to your audience. I'm glad you found this useful.

    Steve Elliott
    Arizona State University