I couldn’t find anything very cheerful to write about this week, so here are two dark topics and an evergreen.
Texas trial: Andrea Yates
Twenty years ago next year, on 7 March 2002, the defence rested in the Andrea Yates trial in Texas. She was found guilty of capital murder, for drowning her five children in a bath. However, the jury refused her the death penalty.
Four years later at her retrial, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Do look into this in more detail if it is a subject that interests you or is close to your heart. There will be a lot of material available.
This case can form the basis for so many topics:
- Capital punishment in general.
- The case for capital punishment.
- The case against capital punishment.
- Women/mothers on trial.
- Parents who have been tried for infanticide.
- Postnatal (postpartum) depression.
- Depression in a specific group (women, men, children).
- The many guises of mental illness.
- Should capital punishment be championed by prosecutors?
- What should happen to so-called expert witnesses who give false testimony?
And these are just off the top of my head. How many more can you think of, given a few hours to brainstorm?
Could you set a story around this topic? Could you write an exposé or investigative piece, using more examples for illustration? Or could you write a case-study profile article, using, say, three or five similar case studies?
This is one for this year, but it dragged on for a little longer, so it might be worth starting any thorough research now. And, of course, it is a subject that has frequently cropped up in recent months.
Thirty years ago this year, on 3 March 1991, footage of LA police officers beating Rodney King caused a global outcry. The acquittal of the officers the following year sparked the LA riots.
What happened to those LA cops? What happened to Rodney King?
Imagine if it had happened today with social media and Black Lives Matter. What could you write using this as your topical hook? Fiction or non-fiction.
Here is your evergreen.
Commonwealth Day happens on the second Monday in March every year. So even if there’s nothing you can link to this in the next few weeks or months, you could start researching something now for next year, or even a series of somethings.
This year it falls on Monday 8 March. Next year it will be Monday 14 March.
Here are a few to start you off:
- What is the history of the British Commonwealth?
- What was Empire Day (the original celebration) all about?
- Which countries still form part of the Commonwealth?
- Which countries have left the Commonwealth? Why did they leave? Are they better off or worse off?
- What has the queen historically addressed or said in previous Commonwealth Day speeches?
- What else will be happening on Commonwealth Day this/next year?
- Historically, what else has happened on Commonwealth Day in previous years.
- What do you think of the Commonwealth? Fors and againsts.
- Should the Commonwealth be scrapped?
- In 2022, the Commonwealth Games will be coming from Birmingham. Where else have they been held? What can you find out about Birmingham and its athletics?
Over to you …
… and don’t forget to come back and let me know if and what you did, and how it fared.