Beat reporting 101


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Beat Reporting basics for Journalism 1

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Beat reporting 101

  1. 1. Reporter’s Toolbox — 01<br />What does a reporter need?<br />Where do stories come from?<br />
  2. 2. What Mental Equipment does a reporter need?<br />An inquisitive mind<br />Ability to write at least pretty well<br />A desire to write better and better<br />Inner motivation to be a self-starter<br />Self-discipline to maintain focus and effort<br />Willingness to work hard on crafting news stories, feature articles and opinion pieces<br />
  3. 3. What physical equipment does a reporter need?<br />Pen or pencil<br />A compact reporter’s notebook<br />A classic reporter's notebook is a narrow pad, roughly four inches wide and eight inches long, spiral-bound at the top, containing about 70 sheets of lined paper, and has cardboard covers front and back. <br />
  4. 4. What physical equipment does a reporter need?<br />A loose-leaf binder, an 8 1/2" x 11" spiral-bound notebook, or any other type of bulky notebook is unacceptable, because the reporter should seem as unobtrusive as possible when conducting the interview or investigating a story.<br />
  5. 5. What physical equipment does a reporter need?<br />Either a mini-tape recorder or a digital recorder.<br />Actually, your cell phone can <br />Probably serve this purpose.<br />Check it out to see if it offers <br />This feature.<br />
  6. 6. What physical equipment does a reporter need?<br />WHY record audio?<br />It is not acceptable to write direct quotes on a notepad during the interview.<br />Tape-recorded quotes are the best protection against inaccuracy-and against quote denial or accusations of misquoting-so reporters must tape record their interviews at all times.<br />The recording device used should be as small as possible so the subject barely notices it during the interview. <br />
  7. 7. What else might a student reporter need?<br />Our Journalism textbook, THE MANUAL…<br />…always available via Mr. Coursey’sMoodle.<br />
  8. 8. Anything else?<br />Oh, yeah…<br />IDEAS!<br />
  9. 9. Where do story ideas come from?<br />Ideas come from:<br />Beats <br />Interviews <br />Research…<br />AND…<br />here is what separates the aces from the cubs…<br />ALTERNATE PERSPECTIVES<br />
  10. 10. What is an ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE?<br />Anything new is likely to be interesting, so good reporters work hard to find out what’s new.<br />But the best reporters (Ace reporters) can look at something that happens every day—generally unnoticed and “under the radar” —<br />Ace reporters find a way to write about that daily reality from an alternative perspective — they find an angle.<br />
  11. 11. For cub reporters, it’s all about The Beat<br />Pretty much all reporting starts with constant, dogged work. <br />How do most reporters begin their story hunting<br />By working a beat.<br />
  12. 12. For cub reporters, it’s all about The Beat<br />What is a beat?<br />A beat is an area of focus; an area in which a reporter develops expertise.<br />In olden times, a beat was an area of rounds walked by a watchman or sentinel. <br />
  13. 13. For cub reporters, it’s all about The Beat<br />When reporters work their beats, they are doing the newspaper's business.<br />They are setting up meetings, usually with people (whether administrators, teachers, or students) who are also engaged in the school's business. <br />
  14. 14. For most reporters, it’s all about The Beat<br />beat writers are expected to keep a journal concerning their sources-people, organizations, publications, phone contacts, office hours, email and Web addresses, etc.<br />The beat writer's journal becomes a legacy to be passed on to the next reporter who will cover that beat.<br />Beat writers should study notes collected by the previous year's beat writer for tips and sources to help smooth the transition from one year to the next. <br />
  15. 15. For most reporters, it’s all about The Beat<br />Beat reporters are expected to obtain relevant calendars of events and to attend important meetings<br />or, on days they cannot attend, to arrange for another reporter to take their place.<br />If all else fails, the beat reporter should arrange to obtain a copy of a meeting's minutes within 24 hours. <br />
  16. 16. For most reporters, it’s all about The Beat<br />Beat writers are responsible for recognizing and proposing article ideas.<br />Before proposing a story idea to an editor, a beat writer should confirm any possible news peg with a second source. <br />
  17. 17. School Beats — Internal<br />
  18. 18. School Beats — External<br />Other potential beats<br />Selected national beats<br />Is congress debating bills that could affect our school?<br />Is there any case on the Supreme Court docket relevant to public schools?<br />Are there any new recommendations pending from national educational organizations like the National Council for the Social Studies? Or the National Council of Teachers of English?<br />Relevant music, movie or theater reviews?<br />