First, follow the recipe

The world can be divided into two kinds of people: People who divide the world into two kinds of people and people who think there’s way way way way way more than two kinds of people.

I’m in the latter group.

However, I have noticed that there are people who tend to follow recipes and read instructions, and people who don’t (or would rather not).

If you’re thinking right now about a story, this is what I’d like you to do:

  • Go to this link (Story Starter), print it and fill it out
  • Notice how easy it is to think about audiences when you’re thinking about sources; they’re often the same
  • Plan your reporting around the question of who needs or wants to know something (fill in the blank).
  • Determine where, how, and from whom you can obtain this information
  • Decide what form the story should take, and remember above all that text is often not the best way to tell a story
  • Write yourself a “don’t forget” list for sharing what you produce with the stakeholders and other audiences.

Do it with every story, and let me know how it goes. I bet you’ll find it a much more organized and methodical approach to reporting.



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