Find The Local Angle

Start With a National News Story, Then Uncover The Local Impact

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So you've combed the local police precinct, city hall and the courthouse for stories, but you're looking for something more. National and international news typically fills the pages of big metropolitan papers, and many beginning reporters want to try their hand at covering these bigger-picture stories.

Chances are it'll take awhile for you to land a national reporting job at the likes of The New York Times or Washington Post.

But you can get a taste of covering larger stories by finding the local angle in national and international news.

Editors call this "localizing the story." It basically means discovering how events that occur on a national scale will affect your local community. So here are ways you can localize national news stories in a variety of different beats.

War

Visit local military or National Guard bases in your area to see if you can find soldiers who are shipping out to, or returning home from, countries where the U.S is at war. Interview them about their experiences.

Or maybe there's a small community of refugees or immigrants from war-torn countries in your community. Talk to them to get their perspective on events in their homeland.

The Economy

Is the national economy in a slump or on the rebound? Interview a local economics professor about what's happening. Are consumer sales up or down? Talk to local merchants to see how they're faring.

Are home sales healthy or weak? Talk to local realtors and homebuilders.

Are gas prices up? Head to a local gas station and interview the owner as well as some customers. Is a big corporation laying off thousands of workers? See if they have a local branch or subsidiary.

Politics

Has Congress or your state legislature passed a new law that will affect your community?

Interview the mayor or members of the town board to get their take on things. Is state and federal funding to municipalities expanding or contracting? Again, talk to officials in your area to see how local services and budgets will be affected.

Education

Are standardized test scores in math and reading up or down nationwide? Is the federal government establishing new standards that local schools must meet? See how your school district is affected. Is funding for student loans drying up? Talk to local college administrators to see what the impact will be.

Crime

Is violent crime rising nationwide? Is illegal drug use up or down? Check with the local police to see what the trends are in your town.

Science, Medicine & Technology

Have researchers made a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's Disease or the like? Talk to physicians and researchers at a local teaching hospital to see what the impact will be. Is a car company offering a new vehicle that gets 100 miles per gallon? Interview customers at a local dealership to see if they're interested.

Fun & Games, Fashion & Culture

Are fans nationwide camping out at movie theaters for the premiere of the latest sci-fi blockbuster?

Head to your local cinema. Is a new video game flying off store shelves? Head to a video game store. Are 70s-influenced fashions the hip thing on the runways of Paris and New York? Check your local fashion boutique to see what's selling.