Part two of The Quail's twice-yearly guide to reporting the news.
This week: Research.
Step 1: Decide on an agenda for your story. Don't worry if you feel as though you don't have enough facts to decide on an agenda just yet - make one up! Readers don't care about facts anyway. Do try to tie your agenda into an angle your newspaper is already hammering away at.
Step 2: Establish a conclusion before you start researching your article. This way, it's easier to tell whether or not the evidence you uncover is worth including or ignoring. You don't want to waste time finding evidence that contradicts your conclusion.
Step 3: Interview some people. This makes it look like you're "objective" and gives your agenda an impressive air of credibility. Just make sure to ask leading questions - ordinary, non-journalist people don't really know what to think about anything, so help them say what you want them to say. Don't worry if you don't like talking to real people - you can do all the research you need from the comfort of the office. And now, thanks to Twitter, you can even do your interviews online!
Step 4: Cobble some suitable responses together, add some pictures, and write about how it confirms the agenda you decided upon in Step 1, and the conclusion you established in Step 2. Send the finished thing to your editor - you're finished!