One thing I have learned is that there are stories all around you. As a journalist you have to be nosey and keep your eyes opened. So when I was on my way to Cancun, Mexico, this past week casually flipping through my April issue of Vogue I wasn’t looking for story ideas or even a good article to read. I was relaxed and dreaming of being on the ocean. But I stumbled across an article, that I have to admit I passed by until my mom pointed it out to me when it was her turn to look at it. The article is basically about sugar substitutes being a staple in the american diet and how artificial sweeteners is making this country fat.
So even though I read this article on how bad diet sodas are for you, I still drank way too much of it while on vacation. On the way back I decided to read it again, this time a little more closely because I thought that this is a serious article and I could maybe do something with this. After all I am a journalist who could possibly make this into a story. But I since I have been on vacation I haven’t gotten the time to materialize it. So I thought I would brainstorm right now what story ideas I could get from it.
One idea: do a taste test. Since there are so many artificial sweeteners which are supposed to be low fat or low calorie on the market nowadays I feel that I could compile some of what is out there, explain what makes each one special or not special and make something (like chocolate chip cookies) and test which tastes better. This way I could maybe help viewers pick which ones they would want to try and get the best for themselves.
Second idea: do an informational piece about why low calorie artificial sweeteners might make you gain weight instead of lose it. It is interesting and could be a health piece. I could talk to nutritionists about it. The only problem would be visuals. I am not completely sure if there would be enough visuals to for me to tell the story on TV. But there would be a lot of facts that I could use and would be able to correlate the rising consumption of diet drinks and high-fructose corn syrup with the rise of obesity in the U.S. I would have to use a lot of good graphics and maybe get footage of people drinking diet sodas as b-roll. (Maybe even get a number on how much diet soda MU goes through on average on campus.)
So this just goes to show you that even reading something that you were just looking at for the fashion, might get your gears turning about artificial sweeteners and diet drink side effects. I couldn’t even escape thinking like a journalist on my vacation.