5 strategies news editors use to find compelling stories

Great story ideas can come from anywhere. But where do news editors usually find unique angles and interesting content to run on a daily basis?

5 strategies news editors use to find compelling stories

The all-digital era we now live in has given opportunities for media professionals to transform the game rapidly, and at scale. Today’s speed-to-publish allows editors to explore many different avenues simultaneously, commissioning everything from in-depth investigations to breaking news and quirky features.  

But how exactly do editors find fresh new ideas to publish, every day? How do they make themselves stand out among their internal competitors? Here are five strategies editors can use to find compelling stories, worthy of publishing.


Newswire agencies develop and provide pre-written stories to verified media subscribers. Some renowned names include Agence France-Presse (AFP), Associated Press (AP), and Thomson Reuters. Editors with a budget can take a look at the content on offer and choose to publish it verbatim or enrich it by adding some additional information for the readers. A newswire allows editors to keep up-to-date with important stories from all around the world, without having to send correspondents into a specific country.

Leverage contacts

When done correctly, an editor’s ability to cultivate relationships can become a treasure trove when it comes to story ideation. It’s good to be constantly building out your network, and then nudging potential sources regularly to get the latest intel and scoops in your field of interest. Some editors even share Google forms to receive story tips from readers.

Internal brainstorming

When something is trending or important, editors must think outside the box to ensure their coverage offers something that other media haven’t yet touched on. Normally, each media has an internal meeting to calibrate their priorities, angles, and potential sources for the week. This is usually when in-house journalists can pitch their ideas to editors. When done correctly, weekly editorial meetings will lead to cohesive content across the board.

Press releases

Press releases are one of the most important and common tools for disseminating news and story angles to the media. If you’re just getting your feet wet as an editor, reach out to the companies and organizations from which you’d like to receive press releases from, day-to-day, week-to-week. This will keep you sharp, and on top of the latest happenings within your beat.  

Freelance pitches

In today’s fast-paced media landscape, freelance journalists play an important role for most online publishers. Building out your own roster of go-to freelancers will often prove to be worth its weight in gold. Having some great freelance talent is a start, but keeping them organized and in sync with your evolving editorial focus is the sweet spot all editors should aim to achieve. Doing this can help lead to a steady inflow of story pitches that none of your competitors will have.

See: 22 websites to help you hire freelance journalists

Save time and money when producing high-quality journalism content. ContentGrow helps editorial teams work with perfectly-matched freelance writers and journalists at preferred rates. Fill out the form below to get your own shortlist of talent or visit the site to get started.

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