REPORTING, as we will discuss next week, is an open-ended journey. Sometimes you'll be assigned to go out into the world and "bring back" a very particular story, a slant or an angle on a particular event or a shift in the culture.
The best stories, however, sometimes bloom out of not the story you went out the report, but the story that you didn't expect to find. In certain ways it's about taking a side road instead of the main road and being open to what you'll find.
Your blog post assignment for January will play on this idea of serendipity. What I'd like you to do is take a "side road" and "get lost" on purpose. That is, throw a figurative dart at a map and go down a street, into a neighborhood to an event, that you wouldn't ordinarily explore. Be a visitor. Describe what you see using as many of your senses as you can. However, instead of summing things up, make sure your language is vivid, take us along with you. Be a camera. Then, tell us what your impressions are: What surprised you? What put you off? What entranced you? What did you learn about this segment of Los Angeles? How does looking at L.A. from this perspective change your impression of L.A. as a whole? You can add voices to your piece. You might meet up with someone who can tell you more about where you are, the history or the concerns, the secrets or the joy of this spot/street/outpost/intersection you've landed in quite by happy accident.
Photo: The Reporter's Notebook