Are you looking for newsworthy stories to cover but don’t know where to start? Here are some places you can dig up ideas for news articles worth writing about right in your own hometown. Once you’re written your article, see if you can get it published in the local community paper, or put it on your blog.
The Police Precinct
If you want to cover the local crime beat, visit your local police precinct or station house (it’s good to call ahead first.) If you’re in a small town, get to know the police chief, detective and beat cops if you can. Ask them about any interesting cases or crimes they’ve handled recently, or ask to see the arrest log for a day-by-day listing of incidents.
The local courthouse can be a treasure trove of stories. Your local district court will typically be where less-serious cases are dealt with – everything from traffic tickets to misdemeanor offenses – while a superior courthouse will be where felony trials are held. Check with the court clerk’s office to see what cases are due to be heard on any given day.
The city council, county commission, town board or village committee – whatever you call it, local government can be a rich source of stories for any reporter. Start by finding the website for your local town government. It will probably list times and even agendas for upcoming meetings. See what issues are being discussed, do some background research, then head to the meeting, pen and notebook in hand.
The School Board
School board meetings can also produce great stories. Again, school districts typically have websites that list school board meeting times and agendas. Such sites will probably list the members of the school board along with contact information, which can be useful for doing pre-meeting research or for doing interviews after the meeting.
High School Sports Events
Aspiring sportswriters need look no further than their local high schools for games to cover. Many top sportswriters – those who cover the NFL, NBA and MKB – got their start covering high school football, basketball and baseball games, among other sports. Check your high school’s website for schedules.
Community Centers, Local Libraries
Places like these often have bulletin boards listing upcoming events in your area. Such facilities also often host events like lectures from visiting speakers or authors, or community forums.
Art Galleries, Performing Arts Venues
Is there a new exhibit by an up-and-coming artist at your local gallery? Review the exhibit or interview the artist. Is a community theater group performing a new play? Again, write a review or interview the actors or director.
Colleges and universities typically host to a wide range of lectures, concerts and forums that are often free and open to the public. Check the college’s website for listings of such events.
Want to become a business writer? Interview local merchants for their thoughts on the state of the economy.