Localizing a national event

Without question, Columbia is one of the most over-covered cities in the U.S. While I’m sure I’m not the only journalist to reach this conclusion, I just feel that it needs to be stated.

Many business owners and organizations lock their doors when they see a reporter walking down the sidewalk, and I can’t really blame them for it. Would you want to talk to reporters multiple times each semester and answer the same questions over and over?

Of course not. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be a journalist in an over-covered city, it just means that you will have to work that much harder to find new story ideas. 

One of the easiest ways to come up with a story is to localize a national event, just as Missourian reporter Carley Meiners did in her article “Colorado Flooding hits home for MU Student Jaimee Zupan.” While this method is often overlooked, it’s a great solution for journalists struggling to develop story proposals. 

Instead of simply regurgitating the AP’s articles, Meiners did her own original reporting by contacting an MU student who was from Aurora, Colo.— one of the cities hit hardest by the flooding. The student, Jaimee Zupan, has been worried sick all weekend about her friends and family as the flood waters continued to rise. 

I think Meiners did a great job of localizing the Colorado flooding for readers in Columbia. She took a different angle to cover the story, and it was extremely effective. As journalists, it’s our job to seek out these interesting connections and find a way to cover stories in unique, innovative ways. 


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