Journalistic Writing Prompts
Journalistic writing prompts provide students with a range of interesting, thought-provoking, and exciting topics to write about. These can help break writers block and inspire new ideas.
Investigative reporting can be a great way to engage students in the world around them. It can also teach them how to find unique angles on existing stories.
Most investigative reporters have to sift through many “tip-offs” from the public before they find something worth following up on. They must use their news judgment to judge whether a story idea is significant, interesting and important. Some investigative journalists spend months or even years pursuing a single story.
People often want to keep private things secret, such as relations within a family or a bad report from school. But governments, companies and individuals also try to hide decisions and events that affect other people. Investigative reporting exposes these issues.
Some well-known examples of investigative reporting include Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle that exposed the terrible conditions in meatpacking plants and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s Watergate investigation. Those who want to become investigative journalists should consider earning an undergraduate degree that develops their communication, research and writing skills, such as Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Arts in English program. This can help them become the next Woodward or Bernstein.
While there are some moral issues that we’ve rightly come to accept as settled and beyond reasonable debate, others remain at the core of our democracy. Journalism plays an essential role in illuminating these issues, which helps society make informed decisions and promote accountability.
One way to help students develop stronger journalistic skills is by engaging in solutions reporting, which highlights responses to social problems rather than just the problems themselves. This approach allows readers to better understand how and why certain approaches may be successful or failing, in turn fostering more effective citizenship.
Another good way to help students develop more sophisticated journalistic skills is by asking them to defend a position through persuasive writing. This can be as simple as arguing for their favorite ice cream flavor or as complex as defending the need for more women in the military. The goal is to teach students how to communicate and argue with conviction and authority.
As journalists, it’s important to reflect on political issues and how they relate to our craft. This can help us to remain objective and unbiased when writing about political stories. It can also help us to create compelling and engaging articles that captivate our audience.
SPJ ethics committee members often get questions about whether journalists can be truly neutral in today’s superheated political environment. While it may be impossible for all journalists to avoid making political statements, the goal should be for them to separate news and opinion.
To make this easier, try interviewing community members on their thoughts and opinions regarding a political issue in your area. Then write an article that highlights both the majority and minority points of view, including direct quotes. This is an excellent way to teach students how to be unbiased and accurate when reporting. It can also help them to think about how different viewpoints can affect the final outcome of a story.
Writing about community issues can be a powerful way to bring important and difficult topics to light. This type of journalism is often highly impactful and requires sensitivity, empathy, and accuracy in order to be effective.
For example, you might write about a local business that has helped a family in need, or about a group of people that work together to care for each other and their environment. You might also investigate local social issues like gentrification, poverty, or homelessness.
These kinds of stories are not only a great way to boost your journalistic skills, but they can also help you build a connection with your audience. So, if you’re looking for ways to improve your writing, try these journalism journal prompts! You might be surprised at the positive results. Good luck! And be sure to check back for more tips and advice. Wendi Thomas is the founder and co-director of MLK50, an independent journalism project based in Memphis. She is committed to the bedrock conviction that a fully informed society makes better decisions and operates with more trust, compassion, and equity.