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Editorial: Share your story ideas with the Enterprise

As a new year begins, it's a time to evaluate what we've done and look to the future. What will 2011 bring?

At the Park Rapids Enterprise we'd like to continue sharing stories about the people who live and work in our community. These are often the best stories to cover and read about.

We'd like to remind our readers to let us know if they have an idea for a good story. We're always eager to hear about a new tip for a story about someone with an interesting hobby or activity. In today's issue of the Enterprise we have a story about a Laporte woman and her dog who competed in a national obedience competition and a group who tried the art of bark biting. These are the types of stories we're looking for.

The Alexandria Echo Press recently printed a list of things to keep in mind for story ideas. The most popular stories are often the ones about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

They don't even have to be that extraordinary, just interesting. Stories that tug at your heartstrings, make you brush back a tear, laugh, smile, nod your head in agreement or shake your head at the injustice.

Everyone has a story to tell. Here are some basic guidelines:

• It has to be true. That's the golden rule of every story we do. Besides, truth can be stranger than fiction and it's a lot more powerful.

• It has to be local. It should involve someone from the newspaper's coverage area, Hubbard County or the areas just outside of it. And that connection should be direct. A story about the brother-in-law of a once local person's aunt who now lives in Timbuktu just doesn't have the impact.

• It should be current. It should have happened within the past few days or weeks, or, like a hobby, is still taking place. It could also tie in to a milestone date. A story, for instance, could begin with, "It was 20 years ago today that John Doe found himself fighting for his life..."

• It should have some universal appeal. People should be able to relate to it, to imagine themselves or a loved one in the same situation. Think of your idea as a movie or book plot. Would most people be able to follow it and be interested in it?

• It should have some detail. Whoever is telling the story should know the basic background in answering those all-important five "w" words - who, what, where, when and why.

We appreciate your story ideas. We're not always able to pursue certain stories for one reason or another but don't get discouraged if your story doesn't appear right away or at all. Keep sending your ideas.

The easiest way to send an idea is by shooting an e-mail to, call 732-3364 and ask to speak with the editor or news staff or send a letter to Park Rapids Enterprise, PO Box 111, Park Rapids, MN 56470.