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Evergreen Stories for the Holiday Season

December 22, 2017
I remember back in my news reporting days that finding stories during slow news weeks – like the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day – can be quite the challenge. Government meetings may be cancelled as people travel, so that source of information is not available. But that doesn’t mean government isn’t still a good source of quality news!

Here are a few story ideas:
  • Which city employees will be working on Christmas and New Year’s? Obviously firefighters and police officers are going to be on duty – are there any who volunteer to work those days so fellow officers can be home with their families?
  • What New Year’s resolutions do city officials have? What do they hope to accomplish in 2018 and where are the challenges/opportunities?
 
  • Over the years we’ve seen an increase in public-private partnerships as cities seek innovative project ideas and ways to improve their communities. This could be a great opportunity to not only highlight some of the most successful partnerships, but provide examples of residents, businesses and local governments working together for the greater good. 
 
  • One story I did as a girl reporter that I enjoyed doing and think – or hope – had some impact on my readers, was a story about DUI school. As part of their sentences, many DUI offenders are required to attend classes that cover how alcohol affects your responses and how drunk driving can impact your life and the lives of others. I went to a few classes, talked to some of the folks who agreed to talk to me and did several interviews with the instructor. One thing that really stuck with me was his comment that he could pretty much tell the first day of class who the repeat offenders would be. The story ran the week of Christmas as a reminder to people to be responsible during the party season.
 
  • There’s always the “highlights of the year” story, but why not take it a little more granular? What were some of the strangest things the waste water treatment folks discovered in the filters in 2017? Heck, talk some trash with the garbage folks – any strange things people throw away? How much more volume do they have over the holidays?
 
  • Finally, there are about 500 newly elected city officials who will be taking office on Jan. 1. How have they been preparing for their new roles since the election? What do they expect to learn and or do in the first 90 days? It would also be fun to check in with them three months from now to see how their expectations measured up to the reality.

Hope some of these ideas are helpful! A highlight of every year for Kelli and me is getting to work with reporters covering city government. We are here to help if we can and we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and awesome New Year!

Amy
Amy Henderson: ahenderson@gmanet.com; Cell: 404-387-0624, Twitter: @amyh_gma
Kelli Bennett: kbennett@gmanet.com.; Cell: 404-796-5508, Twitter: @KelliB_GMA
GMA on Twitter: @gacities
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Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and consulting services to its 520 member cities.

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Larry Hanson (Biography Coming Soon)