Using the school scenario above, close your eyes and picture your finished story package (a self-contained prerecorded news report) on the 6 p.m. news. You envision your lead-ins, camera angles, and cutaways to interviews and shots of kids walking the school hallways. You can hear the impassioned pleas of parents and troubled responses from administrators. The story is already coming together in your mind. Actively learn. Get out of your comfort zone. Head out into the world and feed your creativity.

 

This might mean interviewing district officials, asking bystanders what they think and why, or researching school databases and governmental websites. Get the facts and assemble the most complete picture possible. In this scenario, you would pack up your camera gear and venture out to speak with average citizens about the school budget issue. Securing advance permission, you drive over to two schools located in areas of town that you would not normally visit. You ask the superintendent’s secretary for budget records from last year and minutes from previous school board meetings. Refocus your thinking.

 

Stop and sift through all the information you gathered in. Figure out how it all adds up and which key themes and messages are emerging. Who appears to be credible, and what needs further investigation? Run a mental “sort” on everything you have. You can also use the FAJA Points, described later in this chapter.