Do you contribute story ideas?

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Well-known member
Do you contribute story ideas at the news meeting, or do you just do what you're told? I can say that with me, it's the latter. I generally don't come up with ideas, I just work with the ideas that are given to me. Does that make me less than a true photojournalist? I know of plenty of good photographers who usually don't come up with their own story ideas. Does it mean that I don't have enough passion for this business? I often ponder that question. When I'm actually on a story, I work very hard and go to great lengths to get all the elements I feel are needed to tell it. But the few times I've tried to think up my own story idea, my mind goes blank. Also, usually when I come up with a story idea, it's for a feature or nat sound piece, and I currently work in a newsroom where management discourages features.

Are there others out there who can relate?


most times story ideas come to me by accident. a friend will tell me about some injustice, i'll hear something on the radio, i've found many great ideas while surfing the net, and if you just pay attention while you're out in the field, something will pop up. sometimes i'll question myself about some spot news story, looking for other angles for a follow up. don't try to think of story ideas, let them come to you.


I think the important thing to remember is... if you don't contribute... don't complain.


Yes. I actually came up with so many story ideas that I now have a producer credit on the bussiness card. It started with just submitting ideas that I wanted to shoot, but spread from there. Most photographers WILL want to shoot features and Nat stories at first. Thats natural. Eventually after doing it awhile, hard news is just inevitable. Don't be afraid to submit ideas. Tons will be shot down, but don't take it personally. Our best reporter's have stories shot down in those same meetings everyday. Good luck.

Terry E. Toller

Well-known member
As a staffer, I believe you owe it to not only the news team but yourself to contribute ideas for stories. As pointed out, not all ideas turn into airable stories. But that's OK, it never hurts to pass on ideas.

As a freelancer, you need to be careful who you give your ideas to. In Sacramento, the general way of doing business is for the deskies to take credit for the idea. Especially if it turns out to be a lead story or a series. I generally give the ideas to the ND directly. I have seen instances where the deskies won't even pass the idea along if it comes from a stringer. For some reason, many of them believe you aren't a real journalist if you don't get underpaid, you know, staffer...


Active member
i don't generally contribute story ideas. if something lands in my lap, i'll suggest it, but i'm not going to go out of my way to find a story simply because of the 100's of story ideas i came up with when i started, none of them hit air. i actually got the ok from the nd to research a story...and did in my free time for almost 3 months....just to have it shot down in an afternoon meeting by everyone, including the nd. i've given up; i don't even bother any more. even the one's i occasionally come up with now don't make air...but i feel it's my duty to at least let the high-and-mighty in the newsroom know about it.


Well-known member
I love too! That is the art of it. Finding a story. Something you like. Something you feel is valuable. On of my story ideas was on how dirty our $1.89 a gallon of gas is. I drive a VW bug with a see through fuel filter, and you would be shocked on how much crap is in the gas. You cant say to me..."well, its a Volkswagen" because I have restored it and I have a brand new tank and all new lines. SO where else is that rusty stuff coming from? Hum. Not my car! With all the new cars, people have no clue how to open the hoods to there car let alone work on it. So they dont care as long as it runs. Look at the stats for all the dirty intake valves on the newer cars. Techron wont do ditaly. The gas is dirty and we are paying for it. You can say it is a two way street with one end like I-5.

<dear abby>

almost everyday i pitch stories
i swear they(ND,EP)are not interested in those
same ideas until they see them in the paper or
on another station
it sucks to work in a "producer" shop
and i thought it was weird working in
shop run by strong desk guys ....
but they know they need us so at least
they will listen
what ever happened to reporters making or breaking a stations news product?
i would love to give lay-ups to strong reporters
everyday ...... most of them know team work ....
at least the ones from the old school

signed, frustrated


For some reason, many of them believe you aren't a real journalist if you don't get underpaid, you know, staffer... >>>>> Or it could be added, "a photog"

What I have done is cultivated a realationship with one of our anchors, who the ND will listen to, and pitch my ideas to him to let him put them forth. No, I don't get the credit, but I wouldn't anyways, (which is a whole other problem in itself.) Bottom line, my flag pole is only so high, while others have a much taller one.

Cheers, mi3ke


Well-known member
The best way to earn respect in the newsroom is to contribute story ideas. It's really that simple.


Ok if you do or don't dosen't mean jack crap to me, but in the world of wordsmiths and always covering the same stories the competition does, I will alway look for differing angles that we could go with the story.

Yea that means as a photog read and reasearch in your down time!!!!Not sitting on your ass playing solitaire!!!

The story ideas that I come up with may or may not get done, but atleast I am not percieved as a dumb boob that only lifts a rig on thy shoulder!!!!

If you want change fight for it like a politican...lobby your favorite producer/reporter.

If the nd or other powers dont listen to you, the friends you make with the reporters and producers may fight for your idea!! make sure you get using your friends that take it to the table.

always listen to a scanner and you just may save the day!!!


Seems to me this complaint comes from the lower markets most of the time and then the really large markets...sounds like the photogs that complain about this also have no contacts in the community!!!CONTACTS ARE WHAT A JOURNALIST IS!!! The cool part of what we are capable of is that we play with cool toys and if you get real stories...the you are rocking and rolling!!!

The secret is to actually live in your community and listen to what the public is talking about in the resturants and coffe bars and in the bars!!!the best photogs will walk up to a total stranger and be able to start up a conversation that actually is better than JUST HI AND BYE!!!

If your culture at your station sucks ya got two choices....LOVE IT(Fix it with a few core people and lead by example....i.e. kill them with kindness) OR LEAVE IT(time to send tapes to a place that has a positive culture)!!

The love it part is a tough will be a road of pain, arguments, reasoning, and eventually great friends!!! It is not a road for the weak of heart or spirit!!!...NO PHONIES allowed on this trip down the road of a broadcasters life!!

Peace to all my buds

"Hey is that in focus?" :cool:


Ouch, tough love from "Workhorse". But he speaks the truth.

Cheers, Mi3ke

<Once Upon>

I used to contribute ideas and participate in the editorial meetings. I'd throw out ideas, and they would be glossed over. Then, they would show up in the newspaper or on the other station a few days later. Only then it becomes a big story to us. Follow, not lead seems to be the the news director's method of operation. Not a good plan of attack when we're dead last in the ratings.

This, along with the hours worth of discussion of what everybody did the night before, the American Idol chat, etc. I stopped going and suggesting.

I just do what I'm told now. :(


Sure, I have plenty of good story ideas.

But they don't pay me to be at the morning meeting.

The almighty dollar strikes again.

(I don't complain either)
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