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JRN335 Beat Reporting

Lead Faculty: Dr. Sara-Ellen L. Amster Ph.D

Course Description

Beat Reporting is an advanced course that focuses on adopting a news beat or coverage area by developing and cultivating sources, researching sources, conducting interviews, reporting objectively and writing tightly using the inverted pyramid as the primary style. The course will explore the traditional news beats including city hall, the police, the courts, the military, the environment, religion, education and health. In addition, students will investigate emerging beats such as personal finance, technology, and entertainment, and beats specific to regions of the country, such as aviation, space, and immigration.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding of in-depth and investigative journalism and the role of an investigative reporter.
  • Ability to generate story ideas for investigative and in-depth stories.
  • Ability to identify and develop human sources.
  • Ability to conduct in-depth interviews.
  • Ability to identify and use documents and databases - both electronic and paper.
  • Understanding of, and ability to use, the federal Freedom of Information Act and state open records and meetings laws.
  • Ability to organize large amounts of material.
  • Ability to write and present in-depth material in a compelling way.
  • Ability to plan for photos and graphics to illustrate in-depth stories.
  • Ability to work in collaboration with other journalists, as part of a team reporting effort.
  • Sensitivity to diversity issues in reporting and writing in-depth and investigative stories.
  • Commitment to accuracy and fair play. Understanding of ethical issues involved in investigative reporting.