Question No. 10: “I need some ideas…”

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

This American Life is known for the wide variety of story topics it covers, from the hypnotically mundane to the unbelievable. It seems logical then that the sources for these ideas are just as widespread: articles in the Washington Post, a coworker who knows a friend, reader/listener tips, current events, etc.

My journalism classes never seem to develop a single idea that would qualify for any TAL episode and we’ve got some of the top j-students in the world.

How on earth do you find these leads?

What is the idea generating process like? Do you have a concept and then seek out stories that fit? Do you have a great story and develop a theme around it? Are most stories simply tipped at this point in time?

Links: This American Life

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.


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