It can be difficult to create stories that are unique, original, and high-interest. Crafting stories around the 24-hour news cycle can feel like a constant sprint from one piece to the next. On our Coffee with a Journalist podcast, we ask our guests, journalists from various major outlets, just how they craft their stories and the processes behind bringing a piece to fruition. We talked with three guests who had intriguing takes on writing original stories with unique points of view and style.
Writing Original Stories
When covering a major beat such as tech or business, writing routine pieces can feel redundant and unmotivating. For Alex Heath, Reporter at The Information, his starting point begins with a hot take or interesting scoop within his coverage of Facebook and its competitors. Speaking more on this subject, Alex says that when writing a story for The Information, “ there’s a relatively high, either original info or original take or an exclusive interview or something, kind of bar to meet.”
He continues saying, “the starting point is what I have, either a scoop or an original smart take on something that no one has done, something that will make people, readers think differently about whatever the topic is.”
Like Alex, NBC News Reporter David Ingram begins crafting his stories through inspiration both from outside his outlet and within. David says that exclusives and scoops are what he looks out for. He states, “That’s a huge part of it. Those ideas can come internally or they can come externally, but, having exclusives, that’s one of the main things that reporters are looking for.”
Adam Popescu, frequent New York Times Contributor, approaches his journalism similarly highlighting the unobserved aspects of a topic or subject. Understanding the difficulty behind crafting a new perspective, Adam says, “ I want to hear something that I haven’t seen before. And if I’m going to cover a topic, there’s that old adage that everything has been covered and everything has been written about or filmed. There are no real original ideas.”
Nevertheless, rather than attempting to create a whole new take, Adam likes to dive deeper into a subject and examine the nuances below the surface. When talking about his previous experience working on complex stories such as his profile pieces of notable figures including the Dalai Lama and Steven Spielberg, Adam stated that his goal is to “show an audience either an element of that person that they may not have seen or to share a moment in that person’s life that was transformational, that brought them to where they are.”
Writing original stories is at the core of every journalist. We aspire to use our skills in observation and communication to educate the masses and let individuals into spaces they often do not have access to. From using scoops and exclusives to examining an icon in a different light, writing an original piece is not a matter of creating something utterly unprecedented, but rather crafting a story that reflects your unique point of view that cannot be replicated. That is why we loved sitting down with Alex, David, and Adam, as they gifted us with their unique perspectives and processes.
Curious to learn more about our three featured journalists? Start with our episode, Coffee with a Journalist: Adam Popescu, NYT Contributor, where Adam delves into his vast range of experience covering topics from the latest in business and the tech news to his saga on climate change and globalism.
Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates on our news episodes where we dive deep into journalists’ insights, their origins, and their story-crafting processes.