Loading
Notes
Study Reminders
Support
Text Version

How Journalists Decide on a Topic

Set your study reminders

We will email you at these times to remind you to study.
  • Monday

    -

    7am

    +

    Tuesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Wednesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Thursday

    -

    7am

    +

    Friday

    -

    7am

    +

    Saturday

    -

    7am

    +

    Sunday

    -

    7am

    +


0:10

Hello, welcome to unit two, How to Research, Pitch and Interview.




0:19

In this video, we'll look at choosing a topic and turning it into an idea.




0:26

When a journalist is choosing a topic, they need to think about two things.




0:31

First, what are they interested in?




0:35

Second, what is interesting to other people? 
A topic is a subject or an issue.




0:46

For a journalist, a topic means a big subject like the environment or technology.




0:54

Later in this video, we'll talk about how to make your topic smaller and turn it into an idea to write a story on. But for now, we'll focus on choosing a topic.




1:06

So first, what are you interested in?




1:10

When you read or look at the news, what types of stories do you turn to? 
Examples of big topics are business, politics, health, the arts, fashion or sport. Choosing a topic that you are interested in will make it easier to write an article, because doing the research for the article will be more enjoyable.




1:38

So you know that you're interested in a topic, but how do you know if this topic is interesting to others?




1:47

Well, look at the kinds of stories that appear in the places 
where you get your news. The internet, newspapers, television or radio for example. What are these stories about?




2:01

Is the story part of a topic like health, business, the environment or many others? 
By doing this, you'll see the types of topics that other people are interested in. So after you decide on a topic that both interests you and interests other people, you have to narrow it down to an idea.




2:32

To narrow down means to make something smaller by limiting it in different ways. So, an idea is a smaller part of a topic.




2:44

There are many ways that you can narrow down a topic into an idea.




2:49

Here are three of the most common.




2:51

The first is type, the second is place and the third is time.




2:58

Let's look at an example using all three.




3:03

If a journalist wants to write about the topic of technology, they might want to first narrow it down to type. So instead of writing about technology, they might just write about one type of technology such as cell phones. Second, the might think about limiting it in terms of place. So instead of cellphone use in the whole world, they just limit it to a country, or even a city.




3:32

Lastly, a journalist can now a topic in terms of time. 
Perhaps concentrating on the most recent use of cellphones 
rather than on the history of cellphones.




3:45

So after starting with a large topic of technology, the journalist has an idea for an article. Namely, the way that people use cellphones now in the city where they live. So to summarize, we looked at how to choose a topic by considering what is interesting to you and others. And also how to narrow down that topic into an idea for 
an article by thinking about type, place and time. Now, you can practice how to turn a topic into an idea in the game that follows this video.


0:09

Hello. Welcome to Researching an Idea.




0:13

In the last video, we talked about coming up with ideas and topics for the news. 
In this video, we'll talk about different types of articles or television news segments. 
We'll also talk about different sources, journalists use for information.




0:28

When you open up a newspaper, are all the stories the same size? 
Are they written in the same style? 
No. 
The type of story depends on your topic, first, we'll talk about new stories, investigative journalism and human interest stories.




0:44

The most common type of article is called a news story, which is exactly what it sounds like, it's an article or segment of television news that gives just the facts of an event For example, a news 
story that covered a tornado would give the most basic information of that story. 
The time the tornado appeared, the places it hit, the damage it caused, and the people it affected.




1:12

A news story should be objective, and therefore, should not include the journalist's opinions about the government's ability to provide safe places for citizens, or reviews on products to buy to help prepare for an emergency event.




1:25

A news story is the simplest, and most often the shortest, type of story. Just the facts.




1:32

The second type of article, is called investigative journalism. 
In this type of story, journalists work for months or even years on one problem that needs extra research.




1:45

These stories are not about a single event, but more often about an issue that affects the public.




1:52

Investigative stories are usually much longer in length than a standard news story. 
Topics range from government spy programs to water quality concerns or workers' rights.




2:03

Often sources investigative journalism choose to be anonymous.




2:08

Lastly, the final type of article is human interest journalism. 
Human interest stories focus on a person or people as a way of talking about a current event.




2:20

This type of story brings an emotional side to a larger issue It could give a voice to the voiceless, related to the journalistic principle of empowerment.




2:31

For example, a human interest story may follow one immigrant family and talk about their journey, as a way of talking about immigration laws. Or a human interest story could focus on one soldier as a way of talking about war.




2:46

After journalists knows their topic and story type, they can start to research their idea.




2:52

Generally, journalists use more than one source when writing an article.




2:57

Let's take a look at gathering sources.




3:00

The biggest part of researching your story is gathering sources. 
There are two types of sources, people and information.




3:08

Let's talk about people first.




3:10

People sources can be eye witnesses, we talked about that in unit one, or experts in a particular field. For example, if journalists are writing an investigative story on water quality in a city, an eye witness is a person living in that town who experienced the change in water quality.




3:29

Journalists could also interview a water quality scientist or 
government official who makes decisions and laws about water.




3:38

Information sources are documents that contain background information on a subject. For our example on water quality, an information source might be the test results from water sampling or an email about possible health risks.




3:52

So once journalists decide what type of story they're writing, they need to decide who to interview and what documents will provide the best information.




4:03

To summarize, we've talked about news stories, investigative journalism, and human interest stories. We also talked about using different types of sources to find information for your story.




4:16

In the next two videos, we'll talk about how to take this idea, and 
the research you've done, and pitch it to a news organization.