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Park University Brainstorm Topics and Sites Feature Article Worksheet

Park University Brainstorm Topics and Sites Feature Article Worksheet



This assignment is your first step toward completing the Feature Article project this semester. In this assignment, you will brainstorm some topic ideas for your feature article and choose potential sites you could target for publishing your article.


Recognize different types of web-texts and media outlets (CLO 1)

Begin the process of composing a feature article (CLOs 3, 4)

  • Directions
  • Step 1: Brainstorm Topic Ideas

Remember, your feature article will be a nonfiction piece of writing that involves some kind of research or reporting and will also include visual components, and it will be written with a specific media outlet in mind (read more about it on Course Project Overview). Don’t worry, though—you don’t have to know all the details right now. Over the next four units we’ll read sample features and explore various media outlets to help you get a better sense of what will work. Right now, however, it’s important to generate some ideas of what you might want to write about.

Spend at least 10 minutes jotting down some topics or story ideas that interest you. Remember, there are no bad ideas in brainstorming—write down everything that comes to mind since there’s no telling what will end up leading you to a great idea. Think about the following:

What are some topics related to your major? How do concepts you are learning about in your major relate to everyday life? For example, if you’re a computer science major, you might find blockchain technology interesting, so ask yourself: What does the average person need to know about blockchain?

What are some topics related to your hobbies? For example, maybe you are into knitting, woodworking, cooking, photography, board games, or something similar? What are some interesting subtopics that people who like what you like talk about?

What’s going on in the world/city/neighborhood around you? For example, maybe your local grocery store is being remodeled (Idea: Tips for better navigating the grocery store), or the neighborhood pool just opened (Idea: The Secret Lives of Lifeguards), or a major election is coming up (Idea: How to Become More than a Single-Issue Voter).

What really annoys you? Bad food photography on Instagram? People who don’t seem to understand what the passing lane is for?

What big events are you looking forward to in the next year? Weddings, graduations, family reunions, birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, commemorations of historical events?

  • If you were trying to impress someone with how knowledgeable you are on a topic, what topic would it be? Maybe you’re an expert on the history of waffles or the proper way to wire a speaker system?

What things have you always wanted to know more about?

  • Once you have a list of ideas, it might be useful go back and see if any of them can be narrowed down into more specific ideas.

Step 2: Browse Media Outlets

  • Next, spend some time visiting media outlets around the web and browsing their content to see what kinds of things they publish and what interests you. Reading headlines and clicking through articles online is a great way to generate additional ideas for your own feature article.

It’s especially helpful to visit media outlets that focus on stories within your interests. For example, if you’re thinking about writing about video games, browsing KotakuLinks to an external site. will give you a sense of what kind of video game-related stories are out there, and it could spark ideas.

  • [list of outlets to consider: either paste in here or, if it ends up included in the week’s reading, link to it]

Step 3: Write Up Results

  • Lastly, write a brief, informal report that includes the following:

A paragraph describing what you did to complete this assignment

  • Your list of potential story ideas (with your favorite two or three ideas marked)

Your list of potential target sites for publication (with your top two or three choices marked)

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