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General ideas for a column?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jay Sherman, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    My shop is getting back to a schedule of writing columns. We're given a lot of freedom and can write about what we want. There's a big 5K race today, so my column (which runs every Friday morning) was about the history and importance to the community.

    But I'm new to this gig and new to the area, so I don't know exactly how to go about brewing up columns. I was thinking of interviewing some of the players in the American Legion baseball league and see about baseball superstitions (an idea that was posted in the summer enterprise thread a few weeks ago).

    Other than that, I'm having trouble coming up with ideas. I've got a Wii with Wii Sports, so I was thinking of writing about that as I watch my athletic roommate struggle mightily to play it. I'm not sure how that would fly with my SE who's an old school guy who probably has never heard of the Wii. Plus, Wii Sports has been out for a while.

    Help me brew some general ideas, SJ, I'm spinning my wheels. ;D
  2. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

  3. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

  4. Sheri

    Sheri Member

    You could try the controverisal subject of horse slaughter.

    That seems to go over well in your part of the world.
  5. Just go talkkk to people, I say. Get out of the newsroom, chat with the baseball people and the football people and whoever else there is in town. Don't tell them you're "looking for column ideas" - just say you're new to the job and wanted to introduce yourself and to get to know the people involved in the area's sports world.

    You might have to cold-generate your first couple weeks' material, but, if you have enough chats, garner enough knowledge and make enough friends, you wont be lacking for long.
  6. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

    Go to the agate section for the past week. Look at all the stuff in there that you normally don't care about. Horseshoes, local golf, skeet shooting, amateur baseball, etc. See if there is anything interesting -- maybe just start Googling names.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I'm not hearing "please" out of this demand for help...
  8. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    Sorry slappy. PLEASE help me come up with column material. :-*

    sirvaliant, I like the idea. I'm gonna try to chat with some local coaches at tomorrow's baseball playoffs. Some of the coaches open up to me already, so that's a good sign.
  9. Make sure you write a column about your fantasy football league.
  10. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    I realize I'm simplifying things, but ... talk to people (coaches, administrators, your neighbors, etc.), get to know your readership, figure out what the big issues are in your area. You know, be a reporter. And then, write your column. Also, be on the lookout for national stories that you can localize.
  11. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking that if Jay can't figure out how to write a column he shouldn't be a columnist at this point in his career.

    As Mizzou says, "I don't mean to sound cold or cruel or vicious, but I am so that's how it comes out."
  12. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

    If you are just a columnist, I agree. But I worked at a shop where we did our own layout (no page designers for sports), were our own copy editors, did game coverage, wrote features and had to a weekly column. I was a columnist in that sense, but that didn't mean that the dog days of summer didn't leave me desperate sometimes.
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