URN News Digest Vol No 004: How to find seductive News Angles

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One reporter admitted, that despite being a smart reporter, getting the right and good angle for the story remains one of his major challenges.

Just as an athlete takes in a deep breath to prepare for an energetic race, so should a reporter preparing to write a striking story, take an extra step to weave all the scattered ideas into a crispy, fresh seductive angle to the story. The story must seduce your editor, readers and peers.

Ask yourself; will your readers find this story interesting, informative, and educative? Entertaining, interesting or even useful? But above all, can your story be talked about, or even serve as a point of reference in a conversation?

The magic to getting a great angle for your story is take the extra step – Read and research and use the six senses to explore a fresh perspective. The tips below are not exhaustive but intended to serve as a launch pad for rolling out your angles.

Use different lenses to look at an issue: Identify an issue and wear at least three different lenses to enable you get different perspectives on the story.

Example one: original idea: Teenage pregnancies
• Statistical lense- what are the statistics at the community level? What are the statistics at national and international levels?

• Law Lense: Is there any law or by-law on teenage pregnancies? What are the rules about teenage pregnancies in at least three schools in your area? Are the rules similar? At what point do they defer?

• Economic Lense: how do teenage pregnancies impact on the economic state of families, communities, schools and the nation?

Find a topical twist to a seasonal story: Give an old told story a new topical twist that is relevant to your audience. This can be achieved by looking at your story through the eyes of different groups of people – by gender, class, religious leaders, businessmen, professors etc.
Example: PLE Begins
• How do professors view the current testing of primary school leavers?

• What impact does the examinations season have on the children, parents and traders in your area?

Transform an international story into a local one: Example: World Population Clocks 7 billion in four days time
• What will be the size of the population in your country?  • What will the size of your district’s population be when the global pop clocks 7billion?
• What initiatives are being put in place to control population explosion in your community, district etc?

Keep the focus: Once you have narrowed down the right angle, keep it focused, remember to allow the listeners know why the story is relevant and why they should care.
Add positives to negatives. One way of getting a striking angle is by combining the positives and negatives and you will surely get a spark.
Example: The construction of a new bridge in Hoima will ease transport for the farmers, but wait a minute, what will be the impact of this construction on the environment? The communities living in the area?

No Comments is News too
Twist the “no comment into a news angle” to get a source talking to you. For example the failure by the ministry of animal husbandry to revisit the livestock market that has been rejected, could be treated with a whole new perspective: Ministry drags feet on Livestock market. “One year after cattle herders rejected a shoddily constructed market, the ministry of … is still dragging its feet on addressing the herder’s issues …”

Petty peeves
This story was submitted by a reporter at one of the media outlets- Does it mirror any image to you?

“An investigating committee of 7 MPs has been put in place to investigate over alleged ministers who are said to have received bribe from Tallow oil co”. This follows after Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, HIllary Onek, Sam Kutesa are said to have received bribery from Tallow Oil co which they denay. The investment committee includes Wuseyini Kyanjo, Sesiriya Ogwaro, Tashobya Stephen etc”.

Quote of the week
“In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”– Eric Hoffer

Comments, observations and criticisms: [email protected]

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