Two Minute Tips

When non-business stories are really about business after all

April 19, 2018

Share this article:

Want to expand your business coverage? Try looking into the business behind other beats, like sports or science. (Photo: Pixabay user Pexels)

It’s easy to get locked into small views of what constitutes stories in a field of coverage. Often, what might seem like something in sports or entertainment or science could actually be about business. All you need do is keep your mind open.

For example, I don’t cover sports but have on more than one occasion written about the business of sports, like whether the NFL could profit off its non-profit status.

Want a bigger example? Do a web search for “sports stadium funding” to see how public money and sports entertainment intertwine into substantive coverage. You could easily talk about hundreds of millions of dollars in projects, which means the construction industry, real estate, team business owners, regulation, local businesses, and complex economics. Or, instead, look at the size of coaches’ salaries at universities or the attempt of student athletes to unionize as a look at the business of education.

There have been some great recent examples of articles on people who found ways to beat the lottery based on flaws in the designs of the gaming systems. Given that annual sales top $80 billion, the U.S. lottery industry is a sizeable one. Other possibilities would be the impact of a win on the places that sell tickets or perhaps a business that got its funding from someone’s lottery win.

A few years ago, a breach of Sony’s corporate systems offered business journalists opportunities to discuss security and a gender salary gap.

The site Hyperallergic, which focuses on the art world, ran a good piece on the transformation of the positions and responsibilities of guards at New York art museums while their pay often remained near minimum wage when not represented by a union.

Here are some points to remember when looking for business stories in areas usually considered part of other coverage.

  • Remember that any industry, even if covered in other types of journalism like food, entertainment, lifestyle, or culture, still remains a business.
  • Look for numbers that go beyond the confines of other specialized journalism. They may appear in capital investment, labor, management costs, pricing, real estate, or some other aspect of business.
  • Consider partnering with a reporter who covers the non-business aspects of the industry. You may know the business considerations but might not recognize the players, relationships, or even dynamics that may drive business decisions.

More Like This...

Five takeaways from recent business investigations

For business beat reporters looking for story ideas or inspiration, here are five watchdog stories to spark creativity. The stories, all published in the first seven months of 2022, touch

Think like a business owner. Not a freelancer.

Not all journalism grads will work as full-time staff for a news organization. Maybe after searching on and following up with journalism school contacts, you’ll choose to become a

Two Minute Tips

Sign up now.
Get one Tuesday.

Every Tuesday we send out a quick-read email with tips for business journalism.

Subscribers also get access to the Tip archive.

Get Two Minute Tips For Business Journalism Delivered To Your Email Every Tuesday

Two Minute Tips

Every Tuesday we send out a quick-read email with tips for business journalism. Sign up now and get one Tuesday.

Our New Look
The Reynolds Center for Business Journalism is starting 2023 with a new look that we hope better illustrates our core mission to provide accurate and authoritative resources about business journalism, in order to help both reporters and news consumers understand the importance of business news and to demystify the sometimes arcane topics it covers.
Businesses, markets, and economies move in cycles – ups and downs – which is why our new logo contains a “candlestick” chart representing increases as well as downturns, and serves as a reminder that volatility is an unavoidable attribute of modern life. But it’s also possible to prepare for volatility by being well informed, and informing the general public to help level the information playing field is the primary goal of business journalism. The Reynolds Center is committed to supporting that goal, which is why the candlestick pattern in our logo merges directly into the name of our founding sponsor, Donald W. Reynolds.
Our new logo comes with a shorter name. Business is borderless, and understanding the global links in supply chains, trade, and flows of funds and people is essential to make sense of our fast-paced, globalized world. So we’re dropping the word “National” from our name and will aim to provide content that is applicable to business news globally.
We hope you like the new look. Best wishes for 2023!