5 story ideas for February: Educating your readers on measles, Girl Scouts cookies ideas and more

February is a pretty newsy month with stories to do on a trend with more and more kids not being vaccinated, follow up from the vortex and what the tax law changes will mean for your filing this year.

Here are five stories you could consider doing in February:

1. Explain to readers what the measles outbreak means in your community

Measles are breaking out across a few states, specifically in Oregon and Washington where a few dozen kids have them. Help your audience understand where the outbreak has occurred, why, address myths around measles and vaccinations and find out if hospitals are seeing cases or questions about them. This Q&A from The Atlanta Journal Constitution could be done locally. A Q&A is a great way to inform your readers on what they most need to know about the outbreak. Ask them what they would like you to find out.

2. It’s Girl Scouts cookie time

Girl Scouts cookie season is here. Do more this year than just take a cute photo of Girl Scouts selling cookies and a feature story that sales have started. Make the content interesting and useful. 

Here are a few ideas:

• Find out the favorite Girl Scouts cookies in your state, like The Coloradan did here.

• Are there deserts you can make with them? Of course there are. In Arizona, restaurants are making a bunch of deserts with the cookies. Even if that’s not happening you could share desert ideas. And some are pairing beer with the cookies. Even better!

• What your audience really wants to know is where can you find them. Create a story with locations, via a map.

• Girl Scouts is really about more than cookies. The money goes to a great cause like this video explains. So, sure, tell your audience where to get them but also explain where the money goes and what the Girl Scouts is all about.

• What tips do the most successful Girl Scouts use when selling cookies? This fun video tells you. It would be fun to have Girl Scouts try out their tips on a marketing expert.

3. What do the tax law changes mean to me right now?

The tax law changes passed last year will impact people on their filing this spring. Explain to readers what they should expect. This story by Freep says those expecting to see a big refund this year may be in for a surprise. However, there are ways you can still save on your taxes, which are outlined here by US News & World Report. Pull together a nice explainer that gets into the changes and what people can still do before they file.

And a bonus idea: Look at trends with accountant services, from technology many are using (you can talk over video chat to review your taxes now) to the Turbo Taxes of the world trying to make it faster and easier for consumers to file. What’s been the impact on local accountants and how are they trying to adapt?

4. Showcase readers’ best high school basketball photos

High school basketball is in district/conference play across much of the country so it’s an interesting time to ask readers to share their photos of game action or fans in the stand. This idea from Second Street suggests finding a sponsor for the user generated gallery.

5. Vortex may be over but cool photos of frozen water can live on

Some pretty cool photography was showcased during the vortex and it’s probably pretty likely that your audience loved many of the photos. Well don’t let the engagement die just because it’s not -20. If lakes and water areas are still frozen take photos or do a juxtaposition showing what an area looked like during the vortex and now.