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Just one small statistic can be turned into
a much deeper story, he said.
Not a “numbers man” himself, Glauber
said stories about numbers don’t say much
without a focus on real people.
“The best advice I received was to listen to the
people, not just the numbers, to tell the story,”
Amber Krosel, news editor at Suburban Life
Publications in Downers Grove, Illinois, said.
Dean Kahn, editor and columnist at the
Bellingham Herald, in Bellingham, Washington,
said Glauber’s best advice was to “prowl and
sign up for every e-alert and report you can
from agencies, councils, campus programs,
whatever, that study and issue reports on
poverty, the economy, the workforce, etc.
Then scan those reports for consequential
statistics that scream, ‘here’s a story.’”
AN ABUNDANCE OF STORIES
Training program participants walked away
from the program with a massive new list of
story ideas and rejuvenated approaches.
Speaker Michelle Weldon, assistant profes-
sor at Northwestern University’s Medill School
of Journalism, promised the group before
giving her talk about women, families and
the economy, that each of us would come up
with 100 new story ideas by the time she was
Many in the group felt Weldon accom-
plished this goal.
Koetting asked who in the group felt
they were not good at coming up with
I was one of the people who raised a hand
in the air, not because I don’t feel I can come
up with a great story idea, but because I never
felt I had time to take a proactive approach
to my reporting.
Marga Kellogg Cooley, online editor at the
Santa Maria Times in Santa Maria, California,
said she was “heartened by the out-of-the-box
thinking, and by the clear evidence that what
we do as journalists remains relevant, new
and important to our readers.”
Koetting and Linda Grist Cunningham,
executive editor of the Rockford Register Star,
in Rockford, Illinois, “addressed what’s fore-
most in many of our minds, how to move
the journalism industry forward in a rapidly
changing world while maintaining profitability,
and an integrity and depth that’s not available
elsewhere,” Cooley said.
Cunningham said her newspaper’s initia-
tives include “The Stealth Newspaper,” where
a number of people from her paper in a think
tank format, establish a fake newspaper to
compete against the Register Star. This pro-
vides an opportunity to take an outside look
at the newspaper and develop ways to be
By keeping a watchful eye on a variety of
reports, statistics and studies while being
more observant in the community, my new
list of stories won’t fall short again. Since the
program, that list is pages long.
I also feel less isolated working in a small
community. As a member of the train-
ing group, I know I am part of a bigger,
national team collaborating on valuable
Over Giordano’s Chicago-style pizza, the
group was able to throw around ideas and
promised to continue to help each other and
give advice beyond the program’s two days.
The group continues to be in touch,
sharing what is and what is not working in
their newsrooms in the pursuit of telling
What I learned at the SNA/APME
training program stretches far beyond
how to better report the effects of
the economic crisis, but how to be a
Health issues: What effect is unemployment having on the health of American
families (sources: doctors; heath/fitness experts; unemployed)
Challenge of displaced middle age workers (sources: local counselors;
coroner’s office for suicide rates; churches)
Looking at the age/racial statistics of unemployed women from start of
recession to present & compare to men (story could focus on 4 women &
their stories once they know what the trends are)
Healthcare jobs – why are people having trouble filling these jobs?
College graduates – are they finding jobs? Do these jobs pay the bills? Are
they working in their field of study? Are they still living with their parents?
Could also take it further – are people putting off marriage and/or having
children because they can’t afford it?
Retraining programs in the community and the effects of cuts on
Fewer teenagers giving birth – is this economy-related?
The townies – young adults that are 5-8 years out of high school – who stayed
in the town that they grew up in and why.
Story ideas from attendees:
Downers Grove, Ill
Assistant City Editor
The Santa Fe
Santa Fe, NM
Green Valley News,
The State Journal-Register
The Elkhart Truth
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