Research: How It Can Change Your Story

“The message is clear: the way to construct your writing’s house is to build a deep, sturdy foundation of solid research that prepares you to ask probing questions when interviewing and develop the freshest angle possible when writing.  You accomplish this by taking as much care to refine your research skills as you do to improve your writing- being aware, always, of biases in your sources.”

 Before you ever begin to write, you need to do some research- and a lot of it.  Now, the first thing you need when researching is an inquiring mind.  The Art of Feature Writing gives great incite on having an inquiring mind and going beneath the surface- far beneath. 

 For example, you’re interviewing President Bennett’s daughter about how it is to be his daughter.  You also ask, how was the move, how is the house, how does school compare, have kids picked on you, do you see you’re dad as much, do people speak to your dad and ignore you.  You go well beneath the surface and before you know it, you know the latest teen trends and what teens are facing psychologically.

 Then, after this interview, you research teen psychology.  What the norm is today, what it was 20 years ago, and how things are progressing.  You use libraries (personal and public), you look into search engines such as Google and Bing.  Then, you go to teens Facebook and Twitter pages and observe what they’re talking about and the type of language they use. 

 Now, you’ve not only got a story on the president’s daughter- but you’ve got a series of stories on teens in the area, what they’re facing, and you include a tip in each article for parents and how teens can get help.

 Above all, research before and after an interview.  Use every outlet possible, and above all- give credit to work you used and do not plagiarize.  Good luck- and have a great day!


Research, Research, Research

Being an Honors student, I have had my thesis hanging over me since I started college. Now that I’m actually getting into it, I realize I do a lot more research than I gave myself credit for. All journalists actually do a lot of research. I suppose I just never noticed it because it’s not the same as scholarly research.

Scholarly research seems way more in depth and long term. Journalistic research is all about putting the information out there as soon as you find it before it has a chance to change.

Growing up in school, I was never really a fan of having to do any sort of research. Remind me again why I chose this major?

But in all seriousness, research is a very important part of being a journalist. If we ever have to report on facts or demographics, we need to know where they come from so readers don’t think we are making things up. Any sort of fact or figure or opinion given is a product of some research to find the original source of it, and least in straight news writing. I guess opinions can just be the author’s in more of the feature than news stories.

I’ve always heard how you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet because of how easy it is to put false information there. Why am I still hearing about it in college? I guess it’s because a part of me will still believe something on the Internet as long as there is no evidence to counter it. But anyway, journalists do still have to remember this too. Anyone using the Google search bar needs to remember this.

It just sucks to think that I’m really going to have to power through and look for things on the Internet just to get a good story idea. Usually they just come to me so far, but I guess things will be different in the real world.

Looks like I need to learn to love the research. It’s not like it’s going away any time soon.