Tues., Jan 17, 6-9 p.m.
How to Turn a Topic into a Story Idea — Andrew Marantz — Room 434 (25 students max)
The answer to the perennial “Where do you find your ideas?” question is this: Perfect ideas are not sitting in nature, waiting to be discovered. What actually happens is that you notice something — a bit of news, or maybe something more inchoate — and you start thinking about it. You turn it over in your mind, sharpen it, find some grain in it; you decide how you actually feel about it, figure out what drew you to it in the first place; you make some phone calls, draw up a list of people to talk to…until eventually, it’s not just a topic, not just an intriguing factoid, but a viable story idea. Now that all journalists essentially have access to the same information, the ability to hone ideas is more important than ever. There’s only so much of a competitive edge you can get by having a perfectly curated Twitter or RSS feed. Students should come to the class prepared to pitch three ideas, and we will work together to make them sharper. Andrew Marantz is an editor and writer at The New Yorker.