Class Notes: Beats/Finding focus in stories

What’s in a Beat?

  • Sustainable for a semester
  • Must allow you to report
  • Must offer opportunities for photos, video, data, reporting and more
  • Interests you, does not bore you
  • Local, proximity is close to your home and/or campus location


Beat Notes

  • First ones due Tues, Sept. 16
  • 5-10 bullet points about what’s going on in your beat
  • These points should be potential story ideas, things you find interesting. You won’t necessarily be writing about each one, but as your editor I want to know what’s going on.
  • Eventually, we’ll pick one of those points and you’ll be producing content about it
  • Start to ask yourself: “can I take photos at that event? Would anyone care?” “could I get some stand up interviews on video on that topic?” “is there data associated with this story line that I could use for something?”
  • For JRNL 80, it’s MULTIMEDIA FIRST … don’t aim for the 1,000-word story, aim for the gallery, the video, the social posts, the data, etc.
  • These notes will live on your class blog
  • You will refer to them aloud in class and I will go through them with each of you
  • As you hear me and your peers dissect their notes, you will grow stronger with your own
  • These do not need to be printed, but they must be on your blog and ready for class on the 10 due dates throughout semester


Finding Focus in Stories

  • With multimedia, less is more. Succinct, tight, to the point … finding the focus early, will help you tell a better story, no matter the medium.
  • What is the most interesting part about this story?
  • What surprised me?
  • What did I learn that I didn’t know before?
  • What will viewers want to know?
  • What comes next?
  • And then … how can I best tell this story?