iReport Toolkit tell your story like a pro
The ingredients of a good story

Deciding what story you want to tell is the first step of the storytelling process. We asked several CNN reporters, producers and editors what they thought made a good news story and how to craft one, and came up with a few words of advice.

Get the basics
First things first: your story needs to include the basics. That's who, what, where, when, why and how. It needs to be true, and it needs to be fair.

Pinpoint the significance
Why should your audience care about your story? It's your job as a storyteller to explain why anyone should. Think about how you can connect your story with your audience.

Talk like a human being
Your story should be told in words we all use and understand. If you were going to call your best friend and tell her the story, what would you start with? And how would you describe it? That's probably the best part, and the simplest way to get it across. Start there, and see where it takes you.

Make it flow
A story needs pace. You want your audience to need to know what happens next. Build pace with narrative, quotes, natural sound, or, if you're working with video, creative shot editing.

Get at the emotion
It feels real. Emotion is a powerful connector, and can go a long way toward helping us understand one another. Think about how you can use images, sound and words to express the emotional range of a story and its characters.

Make a plan
Map it out. If you're planning to edit a video, put together a photo gallery, or write a text story, it usually helps to put together a plan of action. What are the crucial details? What's the most important part? How are the pieces connected? Draft an outline or sketch a storyboard before you get started with the hard work of writing and editing. You'll be glad you did.

Learn more
Finding a good story to tell
Stories can make us laugh or cry; they can make us feel angry or comforted or inspired. But how do you pick that perfect, memorable story to tell? These tips will help you find it.

10 things to know before you go out in the field
CNN all-platform journalist Sarah Hoye helps you make a plan to tell your story in the best way possible.

Finding and talking to all the sources you need
Every story has sources, from the man on the street to the top-of-his-field expert. Figure out who you need to talk to, track them down, and get the information you need with these handy tips.

Master the art of interviewing
CNN anchors, correspondents, writers and producers share their best tricks and ideas for getting your subject to dish.