10 useful websites for ‘rainy day’ stories

A rainy day in Bury

Holdthefrontpage used to have a interesting, and updated daily, section called ‘story ideas.‘ The idea was simple – you have slow news days, and these were ideas to see you through.

A rainy day in Bury,  obviously, isn’t news. However, hopefully these 10 websites could be of use. Yes, some of them are obvious, but I thought I’d list them all the same.


Just Giving doesn’t let you search via location for people – but you can quickly find out how people are raising money for charities near you. Search for the charity (or stick the name of an area in there) and then choose a charity, which will show you who is doing what, and when.


The Home Office’s crime maps website has its faults – a bit vague on details of crimes – but is a very good resource which has perhaps been forgotten after a vocal launch. It now includes outcomes of cases and allows you to see crime trends as well. Worth playing with just to see what comes up.


Ofsted used to be a right faff to find recent inspection reports – but appears to be much easier now. Much more than schools just inspected – and a lot of detail out there too.

Crowdfunding websites

There are a number of these which are easy to search to see what people are trying to raise money for. Spacehive tends to be for more civic/community type events while Kickstarter seems to cover everything.


Bands sticking music online isn’t exactly new, but a website which makes it really easy to find the music which is popular near to you, generally by people who are near to you? That’s what reverbnation does. With hundreds of acts, there’s bound to be something of interest – even if it’s just an unsigned artist becoming popular. Oh, and you can embed their music into your site too!  There are localised charts in their as well.


A website which allows people to sell tickets for events – everything from large concerts through to village hall meetings are on here.


I still believe this is one of the most important developments online for open democracy – the ability to search Hansard for any word is brilliant for uncovering stories.


From the same people as theyworkforyou, Whatdotheyknow is well-known to many journalists but certainly belongs on this list. Hundreds of FOIs being answered every day – a great way to find out what concerns people at the moment.

Food Standards Agency

Random fact I’ve learnt: Stories about grubby eateries can be as popular online as transfer football stories. Really. The Food Standards Agency makes that very easy, especially the slicing and dicing between sections.


Have all the ‘things sold on ebay’ stories been done to death? Maybe, maybe not. But always worth a look.

Any others you want to share?







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