Tips and tools: How to cover a beat

Covering a beat is hard work. It can be time-consuming, confusing to navigate and difficult to balance what you’ve learned with what your audience understands.

But beat reporting is also fun, interesting and rewarding. You will be reporting on dedicated topics and geographic areas this semester, and you have just 15 weeks to make the most of it. No easy task.

Here’s some advice to get you started:

Extra credit (yes, I hid this opportunity in this post to see just how closely you’re paying attention):

Look for advice and information about how to cover the specific beat you’re working on this semester, or something close to it if you have a Philly-specific topic. This advice should come from:

  • journalists who’ve covered your topic
  • people in the community you’re covering who’ve talked about how the media portrays them
  • industry publications (like the ones mentioned above)

Write a 400- to 500-word post on the class website about what you learned and how you plan to apply it to your coverage this semester. Take your own photo or use a property attributed one from Creative Commons.

Publish by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6 and post the published link in our Slack #assignments channel earn up to 10 extra credit points on your lowest assignment grade.

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