Always Follow Up



Following a story isn’t that easy.

With four small towns, things happen very quickly.

It’s tough to keep up, at times. Since we are such a small staff, we get pulled off of our beats from time-to-time and it makes things that much more challenging.

Following stories is crucial, though. You have to make that effort.

Follow-up stories give people additional information that may have been missed, or not known, at the time of the first (orginal) story.

Your editors won’t necessarily ask you for it, but they certainly expect it to some degree. As they should.

If this sounds intimidating, relax right now. Follow-up stories are the easiest to write. I’m not saying the interviews, or tracking down new information will be easy, but writing them should be the easy part.

Since you already have the background, you can revert back to your old copy and “freshen” it up. It takes away from re-writing an entire story again because you have something to refresh your memory.

Following a story is all about effort. You either make it or  you don’t. If you are going to go all out, do it. If not, then carry on.

It’s easy to see how many stories you will have to follow when you start as a reporter. Almost all stories are a follow-up to something.

I’ll actually go out on a limb and say that 70 percent of the stories I write are a follow-up to something else.

Stories that would need follow-ups would include:

  • Crimes
  • Fires
  • Accidents

Even features can have follow-ups. It’s any story, really.

It may get old and annoying, but you are helping to fill the paper.

When you are covering a town, the follow-up stories are, I feel, what make people read the paper. They want to know about the updates going on around town. They want to keep themselves in the loop.

And, even if they don’t read the paper, they want to know what’s going on, in general.

In some ways, the sources you are talking to constantly want to know what’s going on with certain topics.

You are trying to quell curiosity and the follow-up story is the answer. It doesn’t hurt to shed more light on happenings.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: