How Journalists Generate News Ideas: Techniques, Tips, and Tricks

News reporters and journalists are always on the lookout for newsworthy topics. Whether it’s a celebrity scandal or a looming threat to the environment, they need something that will catch their audience’s attention. Generating new and exciting story ideas is hard work but not impossible.

There are many ways to do this, from employing different methods for coming up with ideas to using your creativity to get the job done. In this article, we will cover some of these techniques and tips so you can be well informed when it comes time to generate your news ideas.

What are some ways to generate news ideas?

Journalists use a variety of methods to generate their ideas. The most common way is to tap into their own experiences with the subject, but there are other options.

One way to generate story ideas is by asking yourself what you know about the topic. You can start with brainstorming or write down everything you know about it. Then, you can work on narrowing your focus or broadening it until you find something that stands out.

Another option for generating ideas is by looking at your surroundings. One great place to start is by talking to people in the community. For example, if you’re covering a social issue like homelessness, then talk to homeless people and learn what they want people to know about their situation. By finding out what they want others to know, you’ll be able to come up with unique angles for your story idea. 

Another technique for coming up with newsworthy stories is using memory recall and association or word association games like Scrabble or Boggle. This will help jog your memory and make it easier for you to develop new and exciting words and concepts that could lead to a new story idea.

How to come up with a great headline

The first and most important step to coming up with a newsworthy article has a great headline. It’s what will get people to read your story in the first place, so you want it to be compelling enough to make them stick around for the rest of the article. You can come up with a great headline by doing one of two things: either asking yourself, “What if ?” or using a catchy word.

When asking what if, ask these three questions:

– What if everyone could suddenly start flying?

– What if I found my lost dog?

– What if I got an A on my math test?

Using catchy words is an excellent way to generate headlines as well. One way is by looking at something and asking, “What are you not telling me?” For example, let’s say you have a desk with some papers on top of it. You could ask, ‘What are you not telling me about this desk?’ The answer might be that the person who owns this desk doesn’t clean it often enough. Now, you know that there is content for an article!

How to approach your sources

One great way to generate an idea is by approaching your sources. If you approach people in your life, they might be able to provide you with a story idea. The next time you’re at the grocery store and see someone who has a striking outfit on, ask about it! People are often eager to share what’s attractive to them. You can also use this to get more information about the person’s life and interests. This can help generate future story ideas.

When do you know it’s time to stop reporting?

With all the technology and research available to journalists, it can be hard to know when you’re done reporting. However, there are some strategies that will help you decide when it’s time to call it quits on a particular story and move on to something else.

One way is by employing the “rule of three.” This rule states that if three credible sources confirm a newsworthy event, it’s time to stop reporting (unless you’re writing about a breaking news topic). This strategy is often used for celebrity scandals, for example. When there are multiple reports of an incident, then it’s likely that the story is true.

Another strategy is to recognize what’s popular with your audience. For example, what is trending on social media? If you’re trying to cover topics relevant to your readers’ interests, this is one method. By using this technique, journalists can give their readers what they want while continuing their work. 

A third strategy is to recognize what others in your field are doing. Even if your competitors are ahead of you in their reporting or publishing process, there may be ways for you to improve upon what they’ve already done. This could involve improving upon their article with more research or adding new perspectives or information to make it even better than before.


In the business of journalism, there are many techniques, tips, and tricks for generating good news stories. Some things to keep in mind are what your sources might want to tell you, how to come up with a great headline, and how to approach your sources.

No matter what, be persistent and don’t give up. Now you have the tools you need to be a successful journalist!


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