I encourage all of you to begin, if you haven’t already, following the news. Journalists and PR practitioners must be information omnivores, consuming news from a broad variety of sources. Doing so can provide you with story ideas, to be sure. But it also just makes you a more well-rounded person.
You’ll want to curate reliable (that’s an important keyword) sources for local, national and international news. Some suggestions:
Nationally: The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, National Public Radio. Beware that several of these are metered sites, so you may have to pay after a certain number of clicks per month.
If you want to follow what I’m up to, you can save a link to my Daily Times page here, which aggregates all of my stories together. Also consider giving me a follow on Twitter and my professional Facebook page. We still have beats at newspapers, and mine is business with an emphasis on NASA Wallops and agriculture. I like to call it the #spacechicken beat. (Hence the title of my blog.) I appreciate feedback.
The point is: Mass communicators read. It makes them better writers. There is a distinct style to news and PR writing. If you start familiarizing yourself with it now, the happier you will be later in the semester.