Picking a beat for the semester

For this class, I am asking you to take a particular approach to blogging which has been called “beat blogging.”

Beatblogging.org defines the term as “any blog that sticks to a well-defined beat or coverage area, whether it is the work of a single person or a team, whether it is authored by a pro or an amateur journalist.” It continues:

Content-wise, a beat blog presents a regular flow of reporting andcommentary in a focused area the beat covers; it provides links and online resources in that area, and it tracks the subject over time…. When beat blogs are part of a pro reporters work, the best ones are not incidental to the reporter’s work but an integral part of it; sometimes the blog is the main platform for the beat.

Start thinking about the “beat” you want to cover for the semester. It can be a specific subject, geographic location, or community.

Here are some things you should consider:

1. You should be passionate about it or at least want to be passionate about it.

2. You must have regular access to your beat and people, places, and events. You will be required to do original reporting on short notice. You will interview people, take photographs, gather audio, and shoot video.

3. Think of it as building a publication. What is your niche? Who is your audience? What kind of content would your audience want? What kind of publication you would like to have at the end of the semester?

4. The best blogs are focused on a narrow, concrete subject. For example, “Little League baseball in Washington Township” is better than “sports” or “baseball.” And you can’t cover the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, Sixers or fashion in Milan or Hollywood gossip or any other subject that you do not have access to. See point #2.

5. Consider your own conflict of interests. For example, if you are the Student Government President, you should not try to cover student government as a journalist.

EXAMPLES OF PAST STUDENT BLOGS
Philly’s Latin Phever – Your Guide to Latin Dancing in the Heart of Philadelphia
Road to the Winner’s Circle – The equestrians guide to the South Jersey show circuit
A View of Runnemede – Local events and education issues
FIT-nique – Unusual fitness classes, products and extreme sports
For the Record – Everything from tubes to turntables in Southern NJ
Rescue Me – Animal rescue and adoption in central New Jersey
The South Jersey Rialto – South Jersey community theater
A Flash of Light – Lightning awareness in NJ
40 Years and Counting – A chronicle of marriages that last a lifetime
Second Hand Beat – Used bookshops in South Jersey/Philadelphia
Campus Lookbook – Current fashions on Rowan’s campus
Cherry & White Huddle – Providing inside access into the Temple University Owl’s
Woodbury Pride – Covering the Junior Woodbury Steelers football team
DIY Food – South Jersey’s slow, small and sustainable food
SJ Taco Time – The good, the bad, and the ugly of Mexican cuisine in South Jersey

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