Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday's story ideas

OK, today it is going to be "death by sidebar" since I know your managers are going to insist you do shopping stories.

-Internet shopping. Are convenience and high gas prices keeping shoppers home? And in the case of companies like Amazon, are free shipping and no sales tax an attraction?

-Hot toys. What's still hot in light of the lead paint scare?

-Santa's response. You're a department store Santa. A kid asks you for a toy on the lead paint list. Waddaya do?

-Alternative stores. Get away from the mall and check out those closeout/salvage shops. You can often find great bargains there.

-Christmas cards. Do people still send them, or is this one of the easy areas to cut back?

Finally, more evidence that society continues to take a swan dive into the dumper. The post office, which for years has used volunteers to answer letters to Santa, now requires a photo ID and a signed waiver if you want to be one of Saint Nick's helpers.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Friday's challenge

Well, you don't have to be clairvoyant on the day after Thanksgiving if you're in the news business. The following will occur on almost every newscast in America.

-Cold open will include video of store doors opening and shoppers making a mad dash inside.

-Reporter will open package with same video.

-Reporter voiceover will begin with, "And they're off..."

-Package will include sound bite of shopper explaining why he/she got up so early

So here's a simple challenge. Come up with something different. A lead story on something other than shopping would be nice. If you have to do the shopping story, a different point of view might help.

Just don't give the viewers the same thing they get every year.

Hey, it's sweeps. Get creative.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wednesday's story ideas

Stem cell discovery. Scientists say they can turn skin cells into stem cells. There are all sorts of angles you can take on this one.

San Francisco to issue illegal aliens ID cards. This should become a hot button issue, so check the climate in your market.

Did you know a traditional gasoline powered car can be converted to a hybrid? Arnold Schwarzenegger is having his converted, as are people who own classic cars that used to run on leaded gasoline. If you've got enough money, you can drive a muscle car and save the environment.

Thanksgiving road trips... is the high price of gas keeping people at home this holiday season?

Consumer groups calling on the government for stricter codes regarding toys. (Told you this story wasn't going away.)

Some stores are starting their after Thanksgiving sales ON Thanksgiving. Will people really blow off turkey and football for a good bargain?

Interesting political tidbit in light of Mitt Romney's candidacy. Guess which denomination is most likely to convert to the Mormon faith? Southern Baptists.

Got a good story idea? Share it with the rest of the class.

Tuesday's story ideas

Packing for Thanksgiving travel. We've all seen passengers who think a Barcalounger will fit in an overhead compartment. We've had to wait as the parents with strollers the size of Toyotas clog up the aisle. Talk to a TSA official to find out what you can do to speed things along at the airport.

Get the lead out. California AG sues toy companies. Will this spread to other states? And what does this mean for little Johnny's Christmas stocking?

Health story. Smoking can cause men's hair to fall out quicker. (Never saw a bald Marlboro man, did you?) Yet another reason to quit.

Nurse practitioners. In many Doctor's offices, they are taking care of the basic stuff, like strep throat, flu, etc. They are also found in many doc-in-a-box operations. In many cases, patients don't ever see the MD. Do patients like the efficiency, or would they rather sit in a waiting room for an hour to see the doctor?

Seat belts on school buses. Is this feasible, a good idea, and who's going to pay for it? The government is looking for feedback.

OK, just saw an ad on TV for Kohl's after Thanksgiving day sale. Doors open at 4am. Yes, you read that right. Four in the morning. Isn't this getting a bit much?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Monday's story ideas

Veterans medical coverage. We continue to hear horror stories of vets who are obviously disabled but cannot get the benefits they deserve from the VA. It is truly the war at home for these brave souls. Spotlight a vet in your market.

Auto sales at lowest point since 1992. Is it high gas prices? High car prices? Cars not getting enough mileage?

Health story. Obese women have a higher risk of having the babies die shortly after childbirth.

Diesel gas prices. Diesel used to be cheaper... why does it cost more than regular gasoline. (And that's why food prices aren't getting any lower either.)

Supermarkets are selling reusable canvas bags. (At least the one I shop at is doing so, for a buck.) Are grocery shoppers taking advantage of this to go green at the grocery store?

Check local charities. When the economy is down, people cut back on donations. Are any charities hurting when it comes to helping people for Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving preps. We all know shoppers go nuts on Friday... might be interesting to see how stores are preparing.