While COVID19 has necessitated hard news writing (under very challenging circumstances), consumers also need and want more to engage them, help them and even make them smile during these challenging times.
Need some ideas to supplement the leading news stories? At Quill, we brainstormed and came up with a list of story areas that might fill your editorial gaps.
- Dating life. From teens to seniors, consider the relationships that have been transformed. Surely there are people in your community who had been on a promising first date or two just before the lockdown. What about newly engaged couples? And don’t neglect non-traditional lifestyles in your community.
- Custody challenges. Being divorced with kids is a challenge even in the best of times. How are exes dealing with the new realities? What are the legal ramifications if a parent doesn’t believe a former partner is maintaining a safe environment?
- What’s up, Doc? Should you keep scheduled dental, vision and doctor appointments? What should go into decision-making about visits to the emergency room, urgent care or even your doctor or dentist’s office? Speaking of docs, what are those who specialize in elective surgery doing with their time?
- The new morning commute. What are the a.m. and p.m. patterns for work-at-homers? What are their new routines from wake-up to home office?
- Ready, camera one. Tips for making your workspace video conference ready. Include the realities of upgrading home Wi-Fi.
- Alternative exercise. How are people replacing their gym routines? Consult with trainers about managing training in an apartment, a backyard, a front porch, etc.
- Teacher, teacher. How are parents handling homeschooling? Perhaps find teachers who are both instructing classes and homeschooling their own children.
- Video Play Dates. With playdates now confined to Zoom calls, how much of a helicopter parent should one be? Get local experts on child psychology to chime in on this and other practical issues.
- Kids and pets in the workplace. Explore strategies for both working partners and single parents who suddenly have visitors climbing on their laps.
- Streaming entertainment. Beyond the latest movie releases, seek out hidden treasures on the wide variety of streaming services. What’s hidden deep in the Amazon Prime, Hulu or Netflix collections?
- Better board games. There’s probably a friendly local game store near you that can help you steer your readers toward the best new tabletop games for families, two players or solo playing. And if you ask, you may find that there are board game creators within your market.
- Pleasure in entertainment past. Without new sports programming and a more limited number of first-time movies, what are alternatives? How to enjoy replays of past games. Things you pick up in a movie after you’ve seen it multiple times. Creative Spotify playlists. There’s still plenty to be mined by creative entertainment and sports journalists.
- Alter states. What are people doing in lieu of going to church? On the flipside, explore with local clergy how they are dealing with connecting to their congregants. What are the new challenges regarding pastoral care? What are their new considerations when it comes to video sermons?
- Keeping it clean. For some, local laundromats and dry cleaners may not be an option. Thus, time to relearn how to wash clothes at home. Practical guidance could be helpful.
- Something on the side. Explore the sideline businesses entrepreneurs are creating to help the bottom line. In addition to mask-making stories, how have companies large and small shifted their output or services?
- Out of business. Are there any long-established, iconic local businesses on the verge of closing because they couldn’t survive the shutdown?
- And then there’s hair. What are people doing to cut or style their hair? What are some tips to make their hair look like it was professionally styled? Are we going to see the return of the Flowbee?
- Clip art. Speaking of hair, what about pet grooming? Surely some within your region have given it a try.
- Beasts unburdened. And, speaking of animals, what about local pet foster care programs? And, given the minimization of automobile and other traffic, has there been an increase in animals trekking through neighborhoods? How about life at your local zoo? Are there animals that thrive on human observers and others who prefer we stay away?
- Scam alerts. Provide information on activity in your area.
- Just the facts. With so much misinformation out on social media, get specific about what information residents are receiving — and forwarding — that’s false.
- Saving time. You may have a difficult time finding people willing to admit it, but there surely are some who are saving money during this. They’re not spending it on work commutes, hair appointments, $7 lattes, and lunch outings. Factor in personal finance advice from professionals.
- Can we build it? What positive infrastructure work is being done by cities taking advantage of the shutdown? Paving/repairing/cleaning roads and bridges since they’re no longer congested? Fixing up public buildings? And how much easier is the work without the rest of us in the way?
Feel free to add your ideas to the list.