An Introduction to News Reporting: A Beginning Journalist's Guide / Edition 1

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An Introduction to News Reporting gives beginning reporters the tools to succeed by introducing them to news beats and the people, issues, sources, and stories associated with them.

The text begins by reviewing the basics of reporting, including conducting interviews, developing sources, finding documents, and gathering information ethically and legally. It continues with a detailed look at the beats students are most likely to cover as beginning reporters: local government, education, business, police and fire, courts, and others.


  • Covers the major beats in any news organization and lists sources for each beat, giving students the tools to begin reporting their stories.
  • Includes the basics of newswriting so instructors can use the text in courses that combine newswriting and reporting.
  • Provides activities at the end of every chapter, giving students a starting point for reporting the beat and guiding instructors in how to teach reporting skills.
  • Provides a list of resources and Web sites in every chapter to give students and instructors additional information on a particular beat and a starting point for researching stories.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205342181
  • Publisher: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/12/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Table of Contents

Each chapter concludes with “Glossary,” “Activities,” “Resources and Web Sites,” and “References.”



1. Getting Started in Reporting the News.

The Role of Media in Covering Communities.

What Makes News.

Taking What is News and Reporting It.

Issues Facing Journalists and Other Communicators.

In Sum: What It Takes to be a Reporter.

2. Searching: Paper and the Internet.

Using Public Records in Reporting.

Reporters and the Internet.

Computer-assisted Reporting (CAR) for Finding Information.

Keeping Organized with Research.

3. Interviewing as Information-Gathering.

Doing Your Homework.

Questions and Note Taking.

Difficult Moments in Interviewing.

Using Quotes Effectively.

Types of Interviews.

Considerations for Broadcast Interviews.

The Continued Importance of Interviewing.


4. Gathering Information Ethically and Legally.

Guiding Journalists' Behavior.

What Is Libel?

Invasion of Privacy.

Challenges of News Gathering.

5. Covering Diverse Communities.

Ensuring Diversity in Coverage.

Race, Ethnicity, and the Census.

Disability and Aging as Diversity.

Overcoming Bias.

Writing About Sexual Orientation.

Keeping Language Clear and Specific.

Socioeconomic Class and Poverty.


6. Covering the Basics of Local Government.

The Breadth of Local Government.

A Look at City Government.

Covering County Government.

Planning and Zoning.

Special Governments and Districts.

The Challenge of Covering Meetings.

Other Considerations of Local Government Beats.

7. Financing Local Government.

Covering the Budget.

Revenue, or Where the Money Comes From.

Liabilities, Or Where the Money Goes.

Writing for Clarity.

8. Covering the Essentials of Education.

Preparing for the Education Beat.

Finding Sources and Basic Information.

Resources on Children and Youth Issues.

Financing K-12 Education.

Covering Higher Education.

Sports on the Education Beat.

Visualizing the Education Beat.

9. The Broad Beat of Business.

Breaking Coverage into Beats.

Key Documents on the Business Beat.

Key Players for the Business Beat.

A Sampling of Story Ideas.

Reporting on Nonprofits and Charities.

10. Police, Fire, and Disaster.

Learning the Culture.

Getting to the Scene.

Dealing with the Trauma.

Routine Beat Coverage.

Special Circumstances of Covering Campus Crime.

Disasters, Both Human-Made And Natural.

Print Versus Electronic in Reporting Crime News.

11. Covering the Courts.

Overview of the Court Structure.

Getting Started on the Beat.

The Federal Court System.

A Day in Court.

Types of Stories Court Reporters Cover.

12. Covering Specialty Beats.

Covering Science, Medicine, and Health.

Covering Environmental Issues.

Challenges of Covering Science, Medicine, and the Environment.

Covering Religion.

Other Aspects of Specialty Reporting.

13. Elections and Polls.

An Overview of the Elections Process.

Who's On the Beat.

Stories on the Campaign Trail.

Who's Got the Money.

Election Day, Night, and After.

Polling: Elections and Other Issues.


14. Finding Resources.

Developing Local Sources.

General Baltimore County Web Sites.

Going to National Sites.

People Searches.

Telephone Directories.

E-mail and Web Address Tracers.

Public Records on the Internet.

Finding Experts.

Miscellaneous Databases.

Backgrounding Business.

Journalism Sites.

Search Engines.


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