Tipsheet: Story idea roundup 8/13/2012

Rounding up recent tweets and posts, with some elaboration, on talking to profs, whether men are perverts, concerns of veterans, college-bank deals and other stuff. Plus, I say even more (I can’t help it, I’m an adviser!) about why you should cover religion and student voters.

First, be sure you have the presidential and VP debates on your planning calendar:

  • Oct. 3, domestic policy, University of Denver
  • Oct. 11, VP candidates, Centre College, Danville, Ky.
  • Oct. 16, “town-meeting style,” Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
  • Oct. 22, foreign policy, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Fla.

If you’re thinking, “Nah, we can’t afford to send anyone,” I suggest you start thinking instead, “Will lots of our readers watch these debates? How can we interact with them during the debates (physically and via social media) and do smart, locally focused reporting in all our products before and after?” More thoughts on this in a future post. (And I’d be thrilled if you’d send me your ideas.)

I don’t think there’s a limit to the number of stories you can publish on how to succeed in college if — and only if — they have a strong dose of “local.” So when I see pieces like this professor’s advice on how to relate to professors, I think what a fun story could be written by soliciting local comments.

Another topic worth lots of stories: the future of textbooks. Here’s a look at a truly interactive textbook. And University of Tennessee j-prof Jim Stovall is using iBooks. (Disclosure: Jim is a friend of mine.)

Coming soon to your campus: roommate conflicts. Colleges are doing more to help roommates get along, partially to prevent dropouts. You won’t have to look hard to find good roommate/bad roommate stories.

And today’s most pressing question: Should your campus food service ban bacon?

Are men profiled as perverts? You might think so when Virgin Australia airline makes men move if their seats are next to unaccompanied minors. On your campus, do men who are interested in early childhood education run into this mindset? Nursing?

A Pew survey says post-9/11 vets don’t think the public understands their concerns. And where will you find large and growing numbers of veterans? On college campuses. By one estimate, enrollment of vets has doubled in the last three years. These folks are an attractive niche audience for you. And back to the first point: why not ask vets on your campus about their concerns and how well they’re making the transition to college life? That’s a story with wide appeal.

Does your college have a deal with Higher One and/or other bank and credit card companies? Is the deal fair to students? Here’s a good place to start researching the question.

The Paralympics start Aug. 29. On the high-tech “heels” of the incredible Olympic “blade runner,” now would be a good time to spotlight disabled athletes on your campus.


If my post on talking to students about the election didn’t convince you to give it a try, here’s a great piece on voter interviews by Walter Shapiro of The Washington Post. And here’s a good resource to bookmark for election stuff from the great folks at Pew.

After I made my case for covering religion on campus, Twitter provided more fodder: The Chronicle Review says some scientists argue religion has gotten a bad rap.


About adviserdavid

Student media director, Georgia Southern University

Posted on August 13, 2012, in Tipsheet, What to cover. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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