Now that we have decided on our ladder, we need to determine who will cover what. A ‘beat’ is an area or topic that a reporter is assigned to cover – you will be assigned to cover a specific person, club, sport activity or event and it is your job to stay in contact with that person or people involved. It will also be up to you to find and generate the ‘stories’ of these activities as the year progresses.
Step 1 – Assign Beats
Look through the ladder and divide the pages. Think about which topics can be combined into a single beat. Then, think about how you could ‘cover’ the beat – Q+A, attend yourself etc… Put this into the ladder.
Step 2 – Get Ready!
If you are reporting on a sports beat:
- Contact the captains and coaches of the sports teams and let them know you will be in contact with them for information. Tell them that you will be looking for interesting stories, scores for games, and anything else that can tell the ‘story’ of the event.
- Keep a record of all games, opposing teams and scores.
- Find out about particularly interesting games (or stand out plays / players during particular games)
- Keep track of games and try to attend a game sometime.
- Contact the MS and HS photography club and ask them to gather or share any photos for the sport they might have (or point you to where other photos might be!)
If you are reporting on a club activity beat:
- Contact the club adviser teacher and let them know that you will be in touch with them for information – you are trying to tell an interesting story of the activity!
- Find out about any upcoming events (both inside and outside of school)
- Contact the MS and HS photography club and ask them to gather or share any photos for the activity they might have (or point you to where other photos might be!)
Step 3 – Research
Read some example stories and see what sort of information you need to gather. Grab a ‘reporter’s notebook’ and plan your first visit. Go out and get the scoop!
PS: There is also a middle school writing club – you could liaise with them also (i.e. give them some instructions and get them to write a story for you!)