Where stories come from

Tuesday in class, Liz and I talked a little about coming up with story ideas. We talked about:

  • How stories beget stories (talking to people and learning about a subject leads you to more people and other possible stories).
  • How reading in the archives leads us to important follow-ups (like the story about the baby born right after the Sedalia tornado).
  • How reading other publications prompts “localized” stories (like the story Glyn is doing about the Supreme Court’s video game decision).

But some of the biggest, richest stories come from observation and spending time in what we call “Third Places.”

I like what columnist and feature writer Beth Macy has to say about observation in this piece, “Notice What You Notice.”


Please also watch this video (yes, I know it was produced at KU — let’s just swallow our pride and move on).

Can you think of some Third Places in Columbia?

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2 Responses to Where stories come from

  1. hoffsarahj says:

    “Notice What You Notice.” was quite the kick of inspiration. If something isn’t interesting to us how can we expect anyone else to care? It urges you to really look and listen not just see and hear. The way Beth Macy wrote the story made me want to read the full version of every excerpt she mentioned. I will definitely work on paying attention to things that make me say “huh” or “that’s weird” in my head. Most likely those are the stories that are being overlooked.

    I especially liked what Sam Roberts said about being a reporter “We’re paid to basically get a graduate education in whatever we’re interested in! We should be out there all the time, just jumping into the things that make us curious.”

    • reedkath says:

      yep, I think it’s worth remembering how lucky we are to be out there in the world, hearing people’s stories and weaving them into magical experiences for other people. It’s hard work, this magic, but it’s so cool to learn.

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