Introduction to Reporting: Beat Basics

Course Overview

Introduction to Reporting: Beat Basics
Self-Directed Course
This $29.95 course is free of charge thanks to the support of Knight Foundation.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

Are you new to the reporting process? Starting on a new beat assignment? This course will help you identify the key issues and sources on your beat, learn how to determine what’s included in your beat and develop the resources to focus your coverage.

Becoming an effective reporter means understanding where to find good stories. Even if you write about multiple topics, or beats, you can benefit by sharping your coverage skills.

In addition, you’ll get some tips from veteran reporters; see what’s included in 10 typical beats; get a list of online resources; and understand the value of social media as a reporting tool.

This course will help you confidently approach reporting and writing the first stories off your new beat.

What Will I Learn:
  • How to identify key issues and sources on your beat
  • How to get background information that will give your stories context
  • How to develop resources to focus your coverage
  • The value and inner workings of social media, liveblogging and crowdsourcing as reporting tools
Who should take this course:

New journalists starting to cover a community or beat for the first time, veteran journalists hoping to freshen their coverage of long-established territory and anyone who wants to do a thorough job covering a specific area or topic.

Course Instructor:

Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry was director of student media at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. Before coming to LSU, he was digital transformation editor for Digital First Media, which he joined in 2011, when it was the Journal Register Co. He has held reporting and leadership jobs for, The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Omaha World-Herald; Des Moines Register; Minot Daily News; Kansas City Star and Times; and Shenandoah (Iowa) Evening Sentinel.