Due Thursday, Jan. 28: Beat Memo

Your beat memo will serve as the basis of your reporting for the semester.

This is not a note telling me “I think I’d like to cover entertainment.”

It’s a memo delving into how you plan to do a bang-up job of covering entertainment — it should reflect that you have already done significant research on the subject (i.e., you should have done the same exercises that we did in class – starting with general Google News searches, and moving into more targeted social media searches).

Your beat memos due THURSDAY are to be IN WRITING and turned in to me via email before class time.

There is no set word limit, but if you have fewer than 500 words, then you probably have not given it enough thought.

As part of your beat memo you should pitch TWO solid story ideas, and include at least two likely official sources for each.

Do not tell me “A lot of bands come to town and it would be fun to write about them.”

Tell me instead: There’s a band called Those Darlins coming to play at Proud Larrys – they represent a new wave of indie rock out of Nashville, and this show is part of a new touring corridor that puts Oxford on the map of bigger-ticket shows.” I would like to talk with the person who books talent at Proud Larry’s, as well as the band’s manager ______ and the lead singer _______.

Do not tell me: “The men’s tennis team is awesome.”

Tell me instead: Half of the men’s tennis team is from outside of the U.S. — the recruiting staff spends $____ each year traveling abroad to court them. This year, they’ll go to Spain, Sweden and Portugal – I plan to write about a typical recruiting year and the lengths they go to, literally, to bring top-notch players to Ole Miss. I plan to talk to the players __________ and_________ as well as the assistant head coach_______.

Again: You have a minimum of TWO STORY IDEAS like the above included in your pitch.

Click here to read successful examples of beat memos from former classes.


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