Beats help reporters focus their reporting Beats help sources know who to contact with story ideas & concerns Beats help keep reporters from stepping on each other’s toes Professional news organizations want to see prospective reporters can cover a beat
1 Identify your beat – what does it include?2 Develop sources – people who are knowledgeable about your beat3 Identify resources – publications, websites, data sources4 Use social media tools to expand your network5 Hunt for story ideas
Ask yourself: What does this beat encompass? What do I need to learn about this beat? Who are the major players on the beat – faculty, administrators, students, staff, leader s of organizations? What are the major issues/problems/conflicts on your beat?
Consider everyone – classmates, professors, janitors, the baristas at the local coffeehouse – a source Compile a list of potential sources, including titles, phone numbers, email addresses Introduce yourself to sources – set up appointments for coffee, drop in on professors’ offices Tell people what you’re looking for – story ideas, problems, issues, frustrations
Look for publications, websites, blogs related to your beat – follow them Look for data sources – police logs, reports, audits Set up a Google news alert for topics related to your beat
Find and follow sources on Twitter Follow discussions on Twitter, Facebook & Google+ Don’t just lurk; ask questions, seek sources, invite discussion
Read other news outlets Look for changes – new businesses, new employees, administrative changes, new policies Scan bulletin boards Talk to people – ask what’s new, what bothers them
For more informationRead The Student NewspaperSurvival Guide, Second EditionOrder a copy athttp://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1444332384.html