Being a journalist is like being a detective. You have to investigate your surroundings with a tireless eye for detail. Journalists leave no stone unturned while investigating a story. Even the most commonplace events, under a journalist’s scrutiny, could possibly produce gripping news. Here are some tips for hunting down leads in your own backyard.

1. Start with something you know. Follow an unfolding event in your school or neighborhood that interests you and holds your attention. Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to find out what’s really happening and report your findings to a reading audience.

2. Research, research, research. Gather every piece of evidence you can to support your story. Each word you print must be backed by facts. The most effective way to do this is by cross-referencing multiple sources from various places.

3. Seek the truth. Journalism is about gathering, analyzing, testing, and representing the objective truth of an event, issue, or person’s life to the best of a reporter’s ability. Uncovering the truth behind your story requires stamina and skill. Are you up for the challenge?

4. Write for your audience. Journalistic writing should be tailored to the needs of the reader.  Always remember that journalism is a form of storytelling. The way you tell your story largely determines whether someone wants to read it. So write in a way that grips your reader and then holds her attention until the very end.

5. Follow every lead. Before turning your story in, make sure you’ve covered every possible angle. Be relentless in your search for truth!