The tips below were excerpted from a longer story from the International Journalists Network.
Rowan Phillips presented a full article of tips for freelance investigative reporters. The article is worth a read. I excerpted these tips which can apply to reporters everywhere.
Tips for finding the story
- Read or subscribe to lesser-known journals, trade magazines, and local publications. “Every reporter is reading The New York Times, The Guardian, and others. You need to be reading what other journalists are not.”
- Use the free resources at libraries, and the knowledge of librarians. One reporter at the session said a librarian’s tip on how to custom-filter results on the library’s LexisNexis search engine was what led him on two-year reporting job.
- Use your friends and relatives as sounding boards for your story ideas and angles, and ask them the best story they’ve heard. “What’s the most interesting story you’ve heard at a dinner party?” is a useful question.
- Read court records and blogs whenever possible, and then think about any patterns that emerge.