Here’s how we teach creativity in journalism (and why it’s the 5th habit of successful journalists)

Three forms of interactivity

  • Creativity of story ideas
  • Creativity in problem-solving (newsgathering and production)
  • Creativity of storytelling (communication)

Creativity of ideas

Image by Denise Krebs
  1. Firstly, they are more likely to come up with basic ideas that are already being done;
  2. Secondly, they have less raw material (inspiration) to work with; and
  3. Thirdly, they are less likely to know what a good idea looks like.
  • Who can you write a story about? Is there a specific person who is doing something newsworthy?
  • Where might a story be taking place, or have taken place? Is there a location which is experiencing some sort of change — or will do — or has done and this has topical relevance?
  • What is new, or surprising?
  • When is something taking place? Is there an upcoming event you can report on?
  • How can you report this story in a way that is interesting? Could you do your interview in an unusual way? Is there a first-person experience you could write about? (‘A day in the life’)
  • Why would a particular story be newsworthy now? Why would it appeal to your audience?
This template can be used to help stimulate students’ creativity — image from Visual Paradigm
  • Find an article you like and substitute an element (e.g. same interview approach, different person). Or substitute the form (change an interview to a news article, or a report to a liveblog)
  • Combine two ideas (e.g. do an FOI request and a first person story)
  • Adapt an idea: what can be added to it? (more interviews, some data, a gallery?)
  • Modify it: what can be changed? (the location? The timeframe?)
  • Put an idea to another use: can you repeat a story from elsewhere in your local area, or field, or just update it?
  • List the elements of your story and eliminate one or more to make it more focused
  • Can you reverse the order of the story, or the elements being used?
Image from Journalism+Design

Creativity in problem-solving

Image from Skyword

Creativity in storytelling

Image by eliztesch



Write the @ojblog. I run the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism @bcujournalism and wrote @ojhandbook #scrapingforjournos

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Paul Bradshaw

Paul Bradshaw


Write the @ojblog. I run the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism @bcujournalism and wrote @ojhandbook #scrapingforjournos