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Organizing Your Thoughts for a New Story

Using the APF Story Processing Form

By APF Staff

Finding new story leads is often not a problem, it's organizing and focusing on the existing leads that you have. Most people know enough unreported and interesting stories to keep them busy if they were to apply themselves to their stories.

But staying organized is difficult. Often you hear good story ideas, and it's hard to know what to do with them and how to proceed.

That's why Phoenix staff have put together a very basic “Story Processing Form” to help organize your thoughts when you come across a new story.

The form covers focusing on the main people in the story, putting yourself on a forced deadline, identifying the primary documents that support your story, looking at previous reporting done on the topic, figuring out your main angle for the story, understanding the significance of your story, the targets of your story, and a space for notes.

Any one of those topics rightfully deserves a lot more discussion and explanation for the new reporter, but this gives you a nice starting point.

Please let us know if you make use of this form, or have any suggestions or recommendations for it.

Story Processing Form