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Landed my first beat. Now what?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SP7988, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. SP7988

    SP7988 Member

    So I’ve worked for a year now as a sports hawk, also known as the phone guy, and I’ve finally landed my first beat for the spring (boys’ LAX).

    So as it is, I’m currently responsible for getting in a season preview, putting together a weekly Top 20 and near the end of April I begin doing a Sunday notebook. I’m sure there will be a handful of top games to cover during the season and of course the postseason rush.

    My question is, any advice and tips on how to handle my first beat? Anything that I could particularly work on to make my work standout and increase my odds of landing another beat in the fall or maybe more? Or anything that could really make my life easier?

    Definitely looking forward to the experience.
  2. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Hang out. Go to practices. Whether it is for a story or not, spend time building relationships.
  3. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    Go online and read lacrosse stories from the Baltimore Sun (http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/lacrosse/?track=bs-subnav-sports-lax). That way, you can get comfortable with the language of the sport. There's some pretty good writing, too.
  4. That 1 Guy

    That 1 Guy Member

    Definitely learn as much about the sport as possible. There's nothing worse than having readers email in saying you used the wrong terms, etc.
    In addition to reading stories from that sport from other outlets, check in on what your publication has done on these teams in the last year or so in order to familiarize yourself with some of the players, coaches and what teams have stronger traditions.
  5. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Any chance you could volunteer for/ask for/suggest that you handle whatever weekly features may arise off your beat, instead of having them done by the co-ops?

    Otherwise, they're basically getting to do the good stuff, and you'll be doing nothing but games. I'm sure lacrosse gets more coverage in your area than it ever would in, say, mine, and that there might be greater interest in high school games of it there. But still, it would bother me if I had a beat and someone else got to do all the features. That would be especially true on preps coverage, which, it seems to me, wouldn't/shouldn't be so exclusive.
  6. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    This, and learn the game.
  7. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    You can use your inexperience as an advantage, taking a fresh set of eyes to the sport. Why are there 12 girls on a team and 10 boys? How does that change styles of play, rate of scoring, etc.? Why does boys lacrosse have such a high rate of concussions and what may need to be changed? What sorts of camps have started up (maybe if lacrosse is just starting in Massachusetts)? There may be a poorer school that is just starting a lacrosse program that would make for an interesting case study in how the sport is taking over.
  8. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    There's a boys lacrosse beat at the Boston Globe?
  9. TopSpin

    TopSpin Member

    Along with learning the language, rules, etc., this advice from DanOregon is on target:

    Covering a beat means having daily access, so take advantage of that. Go to the news instead of waiting for it to come to you.
  10. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    First advice: Don't out yourself on a message board while looking for advice you should be getting from your very talented editors and colleagues.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    In addition to learning what you can about the sport, if interviewing someone and you aren't sure about something, ask. Don't be afraid to appear like you don't know. Better than faking.

    Also, can you blog the hell out of the lacrosse beat? That would be my suggestion.
  12. Dog8Cats

    Dog8Cats Member

    This is really good advice. Some VERY good germs of story ideas in that post.

    And along the same line of thinking, don't forget about the second-best question to ask: "Can you explain more what you mean by that?"
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