Distinguish yourself and master your beat
Beat journalism, rather than being a relic of the past, is one way to distinguish yourself professionally, both as part of a newsroom and as a freelancer. While newsrooms are shrinking and everyone is expected to be an all-rounder, most reporters will have the opportunity to concentrate on one particular area of the news, whether it be health, environment, agriculture, economics, arts and entertainment, politics, education, sport, technology and more. Each beat offers journalists the opportunity to make sure that they report effectively and comprehensively on the subject at hand – setting them apart from those who may only occasionally cover stories of that nature. fraycollege’s Specialist Reporting training will lay the groundwork and equip you with the tools you need to master your beat with journalistic integrity and professionalism –whatever that beat may be!
2 days training facilitated online or in person
The term beat refers to the ‘beaten path’, a regular or habitual route that is walked or patrolled often, for instance by a policeman. In the same way, beat reporters will follow the same routes or paths to collect new information on the topic they cover, delivering the news, offering context and insightful observations, giving comment or analysis and ensuring that the audience grasps the impact of the story being told.
Beat reporting offers a reporter the opportunity to distinguish themselves as an expert in their chosen field, and while they might not know all the answers, they know which questions to ask and have a relationship with the sources who are able to answer them.
It’s not enough to just be interested in a particular beat though. To truly excel, you will need to be familiar with the topic and build up a base of knowledge, which will allow you to go beyond just reporting on facts to also provide insight and commentary on the subject matter that you cover. You will need to become familiar with the role players and stakeholders of your beat and how they relate to one another, building a rapport and establishing a trust-based professional relationship with your sources. It’s this knowledge and these relationships that will set you apart.
Beat reporting is necessary, now more than ever, because of limited time and dwindling newsroom resources. Newsrooms are shrinking, and the quickest way to find stories and produce high-quality, insightful content is by being familiar with the beat that you cover. You may also find stories that others who are less familiar with the beat might not see. By specialising in your reporting, you will be better able to define your role within a newsroom, climb the professional ladder and distinguish yourself from your peers and colleagues.
fraycollege’s Specialist Reporting training includes general pointers for all beats — reading business reports, scientific papers, relationship management, mapping role players — it can be tailored to particular beats and is facilitated by beat pros.
In addition, the basics, history and crucial skills in the beat are covered with practical examples leading to features ready for publication.
Outcomes and goals
- Meeting different expectations for beat journalism
- Identifying key individual and corporate players in your beat
- Balancing integrity and maintaining relationships in your community
- Speaking the speak (and making it clear for non-specialist audiences)
- Respecting protocols and industry conventions
- Balancing understandability and nuance when reporting on technical subjects
Training facilitated online or in person
Real time individual and group learning with our media and communications professionals.
Greenacres Office Park,
+27(11) 888 0140
frayintermedia is a partner media organisation to fraycollege which helps businesses and organisations to thrive in the media space. Find out more.