I think trend stories are a dying craft in journalism. Sure, you can find a trend story in each newspaper every day, but how many daily reporters go out of their way to write them? How many of them notice the trends?
It’s a hard thing to do when you’re a daily reporter because you’re so busy writing and covering other things. You might notice something, but you don’t really notice the trend to investigate it.
I’m working on a trend story right now, actually. I’ll keep it under my hat until it’s published. When I told one of my sources that I was working on a trend story, though, he looked at me like I was crazy. What’s a trend story?
A trend story is about something that’s, well, trendy. Maybe a lot of people are buying hybrid cars. Or it could be that more women are running for political office (a trend story I wrote for a class a year ago). It takes observation skills to pick up on trends. Sometimes it also takes tenure.
I know my tenure helped me pick up the current trend I’m going to write about for tomorrow. If I had only been in town for a few months, I wouldn’t notice that there was nothing for a few years and then a boom of activity.
It’s been a matter of finding the time to sit down and work on the story, though, and what better week than Thanksgiving week. There’s not much going on. Well, a few things, but not a ton of news.
But I think a lot of daily reporters get stuck in the routines of meeting stories and event stories. I get stuck in the rut. We need to find a way to climb out of the rut and think outside the box. It’s the only way we’ll keep the news interesting.