My idea is to localize an aspect of airline security measures, namely on what they confiscate. I can likely easily get national figures for how much of a certain item security confiscates, or just an overall number by using a government website or calling the Transportation Security Administration. The kinds of questions asked are pretty simple. What are the most recent guidelines on what you are not allowed to bring with you on a carry-on bag, how much of these items do they confiscate, and what do they do with it all?
To make it local, I can contact officials at the Lansing Capital City Airport to see what they do with the items they confiscate. If they send it to a warehouse somewhere does it get sold or recycled? If it’s sold, does the money go back to the Lansing airport specifically, or is it distributed to a general fund nationally? Also how often is the list misinterpreted and items that are specifically allowed confiscated anyway?
This story has proximity most importantly. It is something that is nationwide, but using the Lansing airport will give it focus to people in the area.
It also has a big impact. Many many people go through the airport system and know what it’s like to deal with security. Even those who have never flown know that airline security is extremely stringent and usually a hassle to go through. It is our culture’s connotation to it.
It’s also a bit unusual. Not many people would think about all the scissors or razors piling up in a warehouse somewhere or what they would do with it.
Link to NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/business/15road.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=Airline%20security&st=cs
(WordPress is not letting my attach the above link in the text using the hyperlink button. I don’t know why.)