Between 2013 and 2016, I worked as a reporter for The New York Observer. It was my first full-time job in journalism, there was little oversight, and I had no assigned beat. Because I was a relative greenhorn in the newsroom, I struggled to come up with story ideas. After a while, however, I found a groove: some of my favorite pieces, I realized, had started when I’d been annoyed by something—or, more accurately, noticing that I’d been annoyed by something and reporting out the feeling. (For better or worse, I am annoyed by a lot of things.)
This may not sound like much of a revelation. But the insight helped me achieve a new level of awareness that I hoped would allow me to see a story before anyone else.
Many reporters have had “aha” moments that have changed the way they think about journalism. Because journalism is a profession that is learned on the job, reporters often develop their own personal approaches to writing, interviewing, researching, and other aspects of the craft based on singular experiences that they carry with them. CJR surveyed journalists by phone and email about such experiences. Some interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.
It can be anxiety-producing to reroute a story when one is already in the field, but the story is almost always better for it.
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Jason Leopold, senior investigative reporter, BuzzFeed News
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/analysis/journalist-aha-epiphany-work.php