Pro Tip: Use Reddit To Find Story Ideas

Reddit is an Internet firehose, a repository of the good, the bad, the silly and the shocking.

Online journalists should make it a habit to look at Reddit from time to time. Not only can it be a great way to promote work, but there always seems to be a good story waiting there. Sometimes it’s prominent, and sometimes it’s in an obscure corner of the site. The fact that the site’s slogan is “the front page of the Internet” is telling.

While Reddit still has a niche audience, the stories that are popular on Reddit probably have some potential to be popular elsewhere. If the story fits your site, you should consider writing something similar.

In other words, Reddit, along with other social sites, is often a great way to gauge what the Internet wants, in real-time.

There are subreddits—that’s Reddit-speak for a vertical—for just about everything these days. Some are more active than others, and the active ones should be your focus to see what’s buzzing in real time. The more active ones tend to be located on the horizontal bar across the top of the site.

Sources can also be found on Reddit. The I Am A subreddit allows people to say who they are, what they do, and then people ask them anything. You can make contact with someone who is doing an “Ask Me Anything” session (as they’re called) by using Reddit’s private message function, and after you vet (don’t even think about not vetting someone you find on Reddit–it can be like the wild west), you have your source.

Reddit takes some getting used to. Its presentation is a little rough around the edges, and it will take you some time, at least initially, to find that needle in the haystack story. As the site becomes more and more mainstream, now is the perfect time to do some exploring.