Class notes, Thursday Jan. 28

To Review: 

A beat is a subject area  – such as money/economics, or technology, or college sports – that you will cover throughout the course.

A story idea is a specific pitch to produce a single story — Ex: How Oxford businesses are capitalizing on signing day with specials, etc.

***You should already know, or have a good idea, who your sources would be on your story ideas.**

If you do not know who you will interview for your story ideas, then you haven’t yet given it enough thought.

Again, using the example above:

EX: I would interview 1) the owner of Rafters, who is running Signing Day shot specials 2) I would talk to someone from the Mississippi Small Business Center to comment on how football affects other industries in Oxford, and 3) I would talk to someone from Visit Oxford to talk about how football season affects tourism in Oxford.

In-class: Using Google alerts, online sources, and social media to create a Source List for your beat.

A note on Sourcing: DO NOT START AT THE TOP! Do not tell me you are going to interview John Currence, the Chancellor, the Athletic Director, Coach Freeze or Kennedy, or anyone else who is constantly in the news. We are looking to produce NEW news in this course – you are required to dig deeper for your sources.

A note on advancing the story: If I can Google your story idea and essentially write the same one while sitting at my computer, YOU HAVE NOT DONE ENOUGH TO ADVANCE THE STORY. Producing news is about producing stories that haven’t already been told.

A note on “event” stories: While it’s tempting to pitch stories about single events or “happenings,” many of these events take place annually and are not “new” per se — the challenge is to find the story within these events and find out what’s new about them.


Due Tuesday: What Works – Choose one of the following to critique:

Alarm over Zika Virus rises:

Zika virus spreading explosively:

WHO declares Zika virus global health emergency:


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