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Forming the beat

Forming the beat . Around our school . Objectives . Be able to define what a beat is and why it is important to the function of a school newspaper/publication Explore how to cover a beat and develop a timeline for regular beat coverage

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Forming the beat

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  1. Forming the beat Around our school

  2. Objectives • Be able to define what a beat is and why it is important to the function of a school newspaper/publication • Explore how to cover a beat and develop a timeline for regular beat coverage • Practice questioning skill through brainstorming and mock interviewing • Be able to speak and respond effectively to their sources in order to build relationships

  3. Essential questions • What is a beat? • Why is a beat essential to the role of a journalist? • What is a source? • Who can be a source? • How do you cover a beat? • What questions do I ask my source? • How do students develop confidence to speak to sources? • How so students know if they have a story?

  4. Activity I • Review School Coverage and define what a beat is in journalism (slides to follow) • Groups of three (in your beat groups) • Groups come up with a list using the internet, school directory, phone book, etc. of people and places you could cover for a beat under your chosen category (have at least 10-15 names to hand in) • Develop a master list for the class and students (kept in a binder)- hand out • Review and finalize master list

  5. Activity II • In your same groups, develop 5 reader questions that people might ask about your subject/topic • Once the groups have their questions, one person will act as a “source” and the others as reporters. Take turns asking questions to the “source.” The source will respond as best as they can based on what they know. • Groups reconvene to share what they thought about the experience. Using the Human Sources guide, discuss what makes a good source. • Finally, choose which beats you would like to cover and come up with a timeline for the semester. Be sure to take a beat sheet for clubs and academic beats.

  6. Activity III • Contact beat sources to ask reader questions • Using the 12 Factors of Newsworthiness rubric, individually decide whether the information they gathered would be a story for them and their school publication. • After…present as a class to choose story ideas for website.

  7. School coverage: getting on the beat • One of the best ways to insure that your paper doesn’t miss important stories is to make each reporter responsible for covering assigned beats. Through beat coverage, faculty and students also become more aware of the paper’s active interest in gathering all the news, not just feeding on its interest and ideas. The awareness encourages potential news sources to think, “This might be something for the paper” and tip off a reporter or the adviser.

  8. Around the school • **As soon as possible, obtain a list of clubs and activities around the school. • Clubs • First step- each club reporter should see assigned club advisers to ask for the yearly schedule of meetings, current list of officers and planned or proposed events for the coming year. • Before writing a story, check listings, then interview advisers or presidents of clubs on their beats to gather information about meetings and other story possibilities. • Regular meetings should be written as news briefs or included in the paper’s club calendar

  9. Around the school • Faculty Department Chairpersons (Academics) • Beat reporters should contact the buildings dept chair people at the beginning of the school year and before stories. • Departments include (English, SS, Science, Math, Career Tech, Fine Arts, PE/Health, Foreign Language) • Reporters should determine plans of the dept on initial interview (see forms) • Stories generated from tips by dept chairpersons include: prizes won by students, unusual class activities, faculty accomplishments, profiles of students with unique stories to tell, etc. • Student Council • A major beat! • Can generate a variety of stories throughout the year • Reporters should plan to attend council meetings, as well as interview officers, committee chairpersons and adviser, depending upon the story

  10. Around the school • Sports • Sports are usually covered as individuals reporter’s beats; because of their seasonal nature, they are usually assigned by time periods and writer’s interests • At the beginning of the school year, the sports beat reporter should obtain the schedules of all school sports (which I have). Games are slated in calendars. • Be aware of games and tournaments not previously scheduled • During each team’s season, the reporter should also obtain a roster of players and their positions

  11. Building on beats • In all areas of reporting, it is vital to spell peoples names correctly. • Try to obtain printout of entire student body (which I have) • The goal of beat reporting is to cover the news, not manufacture it, but they should always be aware that a show of genuine interest in a contact may elicit an unexpected lead. • Essential to broaden and deepen school coverage

  12. Other news sources • Hard news • Once a year activities • Human interest • Casting for ideas?

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