Picking Your 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.”

“Content-wise, a beat blog presents a regular flow of reporting and commentary 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. You will interview people, take photographs, gather audio, and shoot video.

3. Think of it as a 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, “the 10-year-old baseball league 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
Painted Philly – Philly street art
A View of Runnemede – Local events and education issues
Backyard Buzz – Do-it-yourself beekeeping in South Jersey
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
Rediscovering the Grove – A historical perspective on Pitman, NJ
40 Years and Counting – A chronicle of marriages that last a lifetime
Master the Basics – Martial arts schools in Gloucester County
Second Hand Beat – Used bookshops in South Jersey/Philadelphia
Campus Lookbook – Current fashions on Rowan’s campus
BonaFideFood: South Jersey Style – On a mission to find authentic food created by genuine people in South Jersey

Advertisements

About Nick DiUlio

My name is Nick DiUlio, a freelance writer and editor from New Jersey. I have been passionate about the craft of writing since I was old enough to spell, and this love has led to a successful career in journalism and creative nonfiction. As a freelancer, I have covered a wide range of topics and personalities, as my published work has focused on everything from profiles of artists and important political figures to hard-news stories with both national and local appeal; from restaurant and beverage reviews to tips on fashion and finance; from health and wellness pieces to celebrity Q&A’s. My work has appeared in several local, regional and national publications—both in print and online—including Philadelphia Magazine, Slate.com, Miller-McCune, New Jersey Monthly, Eating Well, and Delaware Today. Additionally, I am the South Jersey Bureau Chief for New Jersey Monthly and an adjunct journalism professor at Rowan University. To be sure, the broadness of my body of work seems only to be matched by my boundless interest in almost every subject imaginable (except Warren Zevon). Check out some of my most recently published work here.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Picking Your Beat for the Semester

  1. Pingback: Assignments for Wednesday, Sept. 14 | Southern Accents

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s