Week 7 (26/3): Generating a story – there’s an app for that

Image by Henning Westerkamp from Pixabay

BY MARK GATELY

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in News Conference, it’s that coming up with story ideas from scratch can be really hard.

But the good news is that the news doesn’t always have to come to you – sometimes you can make it happen!

One tried and true method is to conduct a poll.

Media organisations will either create a poll themselves and ask readers to vote (most unscientific) or they will pay professional pollsters to phone people/gather focus groups together to ascertain things such as voter intentions or reactions to the issues of the day (lots of maths and science involved).

Now it’s got to the point where anyone armed with a clue and a social media account can do it.

The process is simple. Once you have the data you comb through it to find the most interesting results – and there is your angle.

Often the newspaper or website won’t even do interviews, they’ll just do a big story dressed up with lots of graphics and send it out into the world.

Creating the poll or survey itself is also easy. Here’s how it’s done:

TASK

Use this link to create a poll. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it can be as simple as one question with a yes or no answer.

Then come up with a plan to deploy it so you can generate a story. Tying it into an upcoming radio show theme would kill two (or three) birds with one stone.

Put your poll link and the plan on a Word document and put it in the Weekly Tasks folder.

Author: veritychambers

Journalist and teacher

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