From our research, we learned that journalists in established newsrooms faced with digital transition struggle to find time to develop good stories. They also told us that they would like to work more in teams, but lack the resources. These and other observations made us realize the need for “scaffolding creativity” – to support and build new work practices to strengthen the core of journalism: the storytelling. We started experimenting with a simple tool that put the first phase of story development in the centre, with the aim of enabling newsroom staff to implement collective creative practices with the resources available.
The Idea Propeller consists of nine questions that will boost any idea for a news story. Each question addresses a particular difficulty that journalism in general faces in the transition from print or linear publication to digital audience engagement. The tool is designed as a peer-to-peer exercise that can be easily implemented in the everyday story development. It was designed to be effective, energizing and adaptable to each setting, whether it is finding a new angle to a yearly event, enriching an investigative story or turning a well-known phenomenon into an engaging narrative that moves the audience.