Brainstorming Tips

As important as our school’s work is, it can seem routine to those of us on the inside. Sometimes we don’t recognize the stories that are right in front of us. Here are ways to help you think creatively about your department’s activities.

Story Ideas to Get You Started

  • news brief items
  • grants awarded
  • research projects and news
  • recent awards and honors
  • recent article or book publications
  • media mentions or features where you are quoted or interviewed
  • community engagement/impact activities
  • upcoming events
  • students doing interesting work and have a story to tell
  • alumni with unique backgrounds who are making an impact in their fields


Can you connect your work to:

  • current events: Is there a trending political topic that ties to education we should be providing our expertise on?
  • ongoing media stories: Does your work relate to current issues?
  • a conversation taking place on social networking sites, blogs and other online sites?
  • a campus event: Does your research relate to an upcoming lecture?
  • pertinent topics outside education: Is there an interesting correlation between your work and the economy, green concerns, etc.?


Stories can be significant if they:

  • involve many people
  • affect people over a long period of time
  • have an impact on quality of life, even if for just a few individuals
  • are worthy of superlatives: Is your work the first of its kind, the largest study to date, fastest procedure, most cost-effective treatment or most efficient method?


People care about what’s close to home.

Local issues are the clearest way to demonstrate proximity.

Have you helped solve a problem that affects our community?

Does your work directly or indirectly promote economic development, employment or corporate partnerships?

Expert Opinion

Educators, administrators, counselors, psychologists and information specialists are often averse to controversy.

Yet as an expert in your area, you can add constructive thoughts and opinions to subjects that are being discussed in public forums.

If you have an opportunity, consider contributing thoughtfully to a debate. By doing so, you can bring positive news coverage to your work and to our school.

Human Interest

Do you have a story that would engage readers’ emotions and have a far-reaching impact?

For example: You’ve not only helped introduce a new education tactic, but you’ve also helped underprivileged people in urban schools access to education.