Paul Sakuma, Associated Press
A foreclosure sign is shown through a front gate of a foreclosed home in Oakland, Calif.

It probably isn't too difficult to guess where I came up with the idea for my story on "The foreclosure next door: saving your neighborhood". The beginning of the article describes the empty house next to my home in West Valley City: "The grass is crispy brown. Backyard weeds peek over the top of a 6-foot-tall fence. The trees are dead and swarming with insects. Fading notices are duct taped to the broken garage door and to the front door."

My beat is "financial responsibility." It is one of the "seven areas of editorial emphasis of the Deseret News — and is at the heart of many of the economic difficulties faced by individuals, families and the nation.

And that empty house next door.

Just like many of the readers of the Desert News, I want to understand what is going on in my neighborhood and how to live in a happier and, hopefully, more financially responsible way.

In the case of the foreclosure, I wanted to know what was happening to the empty house. I knew a foreclosure wasn't an unusual circumstance in this recovering economy, and so my quest to understand led to an expert — Gaynell Instefjord at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Sandy, Utah.

Gathering information from experts both close to home and from across the country and applying it to daily life is my goal as a reporter. Not only does it give useful information to readers, it often has the benefit of helping me to improve my life as well.

Financial responsibility is just one way to look at issues, events and people. Many writers at the Deseret News approach stories from this and other perspectives. When we get it right, the result is stories that are not being covered in the same way by any other news outlet.

And they might hit as close to home as the foreclosure next door.