Beat reporting

Each day, Poynter's News University will share a tip, a suggestion or idea to help your reporting, writing, editing, photography, design, and multimedia work better. We'll draw tips from our more than 150 training modules. Follow us on Twitter with our #nutip hashtag. Or subscribe to our RSS feed.

  • #109
    Try to make at least one prospecting visit each week during your first few months on the beat. After you've been on the beat awhile, prospecting trips are a good way to refresh your outlook when you start feeling stale.
    Jun 25, 2010
    Beat reporting, Reporting
  • #107
    It should raise a red flag to a journalist if a charity won't discuss its mission or finances; pressures consumers for donations; won't send literature about its work or doesn't have a Web site.
    Jun 23, 2010
    Beat reporting, Reporting
  • #97
    “Success on a beat rests with whom you know and what they will tell you. To that end, get to know every player on your beat, from the highest-ranking official to the lowest clerk. Be approachable, friendly and work to cultivate everyone as a potential source.” --Randy Ludlow, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch
    Jun 13, 2010
    Beat reporting, Reporting
  • #65
    “Coffee and conversation. Once a week, buy a key person coffee. Learn what they want from you before telling them what you want from them. When possible, do interviews in person. Build relationships. While on a story, log contact info for good sources you meet. Then ask them out for coffee.” --Erin Barnett, The Oregonian
    May 11, 2010
    Beat reporting, Reporting
  • #35
    A good court reporter is part historian, part critic, part transcriber, part observer—and always a good listener, accurate note taker and critical thinker.
    Apr 11, 2010
  • #33
    When interviewing someone who has been the victim of a traumatic event, be honest and respectful. Also consider whether the subject understands the ramifications of speaking with you, that his or her comments could be in the paper or on the news.
    Apr 09, 2010
    Beat reporting, Cops, Reporting