Christmas, New Year's and year-end story ideas that feature reader stories and photos.
In a Dec. 2 webinar, I shared dozens of reader-involvement story ideas for the holidays, in categories of photos, writing, voting and lists. Here's a recap:
-- Get photos of and a few words about readers' favorite ornaments (a callout ad is coming for this idea by Thursday.)
-- Get photos of children being unintentionally scared by the mall Santa, or photos of people in town who look like Santa.
-- Ask for photos of kids in their costumes for local "Nutcracker," "Christmas Carol" or other holiday productions.
-- Ask for local artists and photographers (professional or amateur) to submit work that you can showcase on Dec. 25th's 1A. Profile the artist inside.
-- Request that readers send in funny family holiday newsletters they've written or received in the past.
-- Ask for readers' favorite holiday traditions.
-- Have kids tell you what they'd like to buy their parents for Christmas -- the answers could range from something sweet, like a new job for Mom, to something more typical, like new cars, electronics, jewelry or houses.
-- Have readers send in their tech gift questions, and have an expert at the paper or from a local store supply the answers.
-- Provide a template of Santa and have readers draw him in a new outfit.
-- Ask for cookie, dinner and other holiday recipes from readers and local chefs.
-- Create a March Madness-type bracket of holiday songs, TV specials or movies, and have readers vote on their favorites. Narrow the competitor week by week until there's one winner.
-- Ask local musicians to write and/or record a new Christmas song, and have readers vote for the best online.
-- Have readers test out/review hot gifts and toys.
-- Have readers send photos of their gingerbread houses, and ask people to vote on the best decor.
-- Compile your readers' lights displays photos into a list in print and online -- Google Maps are an easy way to do this.
-- Ask charities to submit their fundraising holiday cards and ways people can volunteer during the season.
-- Ask churches to submit times and dates of their special services.
-- Request neighborhoods' luminaria times/dates or other public holiday festival info.
-- Ask readers and businesses to provide information on where to buy Christmas trees.
-- Readers' best and worst of 2010.
-- Reader resolutions -- or why they aren't making them this year.
-- Favorite reader party food recipes and places to sip champagne.
Page 2 of 2 - YEAR END
-- List the top 5 Web stories of the year, and ask readers to guess which was the most-read.
-- Run your best photos of the year, with a note on each from the photographers who shot them.
-- Run your front pages of the year.
What other holiday or year-end ideas are you pursing this year? Let me know, and I may include them in a future GHNewsroom post.