Content ideas

5 questions to help dig deeper into a beat

Great ideas live forever! We found this post from the GateHouse Newsroom vaults that still rings true today for reporters looking to get to the heart of their beats.

Why should we provide deeper meaning to every story we publish? What are some of the ways to find the essence of the news?

Readers want stories that are relevant to their lives and go beyond the headlines of the day. To meet this desire, reporters need to drill below the surface of every story they report and write.

Below are five questions that reporters should ask themselves during the storytelling process. The answers will lead to a more engaging and meaningful experience for readers:

What is the story really about? Find the events that have led to the current situation. Discover a new trend or a turning point in the story.

Is there a fresh approach? Reporters too often turn to the same sources on a beat topic. Find new voices and new angles to report the news. Also, think of new ways to complement the storytelling through multimedia and social media.

Who has something at stake? Understand the positions of all of the players involved in the story. Research the backgrounds of the people involved to gain a clearer understanding of their words and actions.

Why should the reader care? Reporters need to dig deeper into the topic if they cannot answer this question after writing a story. Add the human element to every story to help engage readers.

Have you answered the question, “Why”? Just don’t report yesterday’s headlines. Dig deeper to let readers know why it happened.

Answering these questions will help reporters move beyond the daily grind of beat reporting and the stale stories that often are the results.

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