As a journalist, when you put your work out there for the world to see, you obviously want the world to care. Yet, in order for people to care about your story, you need to have one worth caring about to begin with.
This is what Mark Blaine discusses in the second chapter of his book, The Digital Reporter’s Notebook. With the chapter titled, ‘Why Do I Care?’, Blaine gets to the nitty gritty of writing stories that people will actually care to read. He ultimately says that stories need three things: Quality, Novelty, and Usefulness. Readers should be getting a story that is reliable with multiple trustworthy sources, contains new information, and this information could actually be used to help them.
Once a story has these three main components and the assembly of it has been decided, then it is time to develop the story further. You have the information — the facts, quotes, etc. — according to Blaine, this is where the story truly comes alive because you add context to bring everything together. The context of the story allows the reader to develop empathy for the “characters” in the story. This makes your story even richer and keeps the reader intrigued about the topic of your story.
Blaine ends his discussion by encouraging writers to reach out to their audience and get feedback in order to grow as a writer. He calls it an “on-the-fly focus group”, which is something all budding and veteran journalists can learn to do.
Opening Image: Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash