Article Idea: The city is trying to close down the street between Indiana and Lincolnway to make a permanent area for the farmer’s market and ice skating rink.
Downtown businesses are filing a petition against doing so, as it would eliminate 25-30 valuable parking spaces and make traffic harder to navigate around downtown. They support the city doing what it can to make the downtown area nicer, and don’t even mind that stretch of street being closed down twice a week during the summer, but they view this as being unnecessary.
Common Pitfalls (& how I will avoid them)
1. Staying Safe in Your Own Backward: Granted, I work downtown, but writing an article about the city’s decisions is kind of gutsy. While still remaining unbiased (i. e. I wouldn’t be all “In a foolish move to renovate the city ‘for Valparaiso’s good,’ the ignorant city council members…”), I would endeavor to show the situation from the side of those who see the negative consequences of the decision, which is a controversial side to show.
2. Broad Topic That Lacks an Angle: The angle for this story will be the entire situation from the side of business owners in the downtown area–people whose businesses would be affected if this portion of the street was closed. The article will take a look at What It Takes To Run A Business Downtown and show their side in an otherwise rather hush-hush matter.
3. Failing to Dig Deep: Though the article is geared at The Cons of Closing This Street, I would look to interview both Downtown Business Owners and Downtown Business Shoppers AND Those On The Council Who Would See The Pros of Closing It. And, for good measure, the people who come to the farmer’s market, who would benefit from the change.
4. Writing Without Anecdotes: (I realize this might be straying back into my own backyard), but I would want to interview Mike and Kim Karamesines, who own Greek’s Pizzeria. Their business has been located on Indiana Avenue since 1985, so they have seen the benefits of all the changes the council has made, and would see the problems this Street Closing would create.
In addition, it would be nice to talk to a person whose downtown business had closed recently, if it had something to do with renovations downtown hindering customer traffic.
5. Boring Articles That Lack Action: This portion is two-fold. 1. The Street Closing is a current topic, so readers could see the action as it unfolds downtown, and see the immediate changes either course of action takes. It’s something that would affect many people living and working in Valparaiso. 2. The readers themselves could take action. Not to get too activist here, but several downtown businesses have copies of an Official Petition that they could sign, if they felt so inclined.