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Most important beat at a newspaper

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WaylonJennings, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Had this discussion with a colleague.

    I said city hall.

    She said education.

    It probably depends on the location and size of the rag, obviously, but thought it was an interesting point for discussion nonetheless.
  2. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Duh, it's the high school sports beat, of course. How else are little Johnny and little Susie gonna get those scholarships?

    Seriously, though, I think it's totally dependent on the location and paper size, like you said. If you're in a state capitol, I would say the state house beat would probably be tops. In a major university town, maybe it's the education beat. In a border town, it might be immigration.
  3. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Depends on your paper's focus. If your paper has a car crash on A1 every day, I'd guess the cops beat is tops.

    Most days at my paper, it seems the top beat is the AP beat. That's because our night editor would rather let the day crew put the local stuff inside. You could do our paper's A1 with a cookie cutter: wire Iraq story here, wire Afghanistan story here, wire story favorable to Bush above the fold, and some goofy local wild art of flowers in the middle.
  4. Kato

    Kato Active Member

    I've often said education, but maybe that's because I'm a sportswriter with three kids -- two in grade school, including one with some special ed. services. Another reason I think that, though, is it's a place to grow readership. We (our paper anyway) try way too hard to try to gain readers between 18-25. That ain't happening. But if we go after the 25-35 age bracket -- young families, people who are trying to settle into a community -- I think we could stay afloat. And what are those folks concerned about? If they have kids, it's education.
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Depends on the paper.

    A big time national scope daily will probably see Capitol Hill or world events as its most important beat(s). The Podunk Weekly likely sees its town hall or education as its most important beats.
  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Depends on the paper...

    At the Washington Post or the NYT, it's the political or government beat. At the LA Times, it might be the entertainment news reporter. At a lot of places, it's the most popular local sports team...
  7. Bingo. What do you suppose the most-important beat at the South Bend Tribune is?
  8. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    Police beat. If it bleeds it leads, and this is where the blood is.
  9. The most important beat?

    Mine. Whatever it is.
  10. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member

    good topic. I thought this would just in the sports section.

    W-B beat me too it.
    My initial though is the same. The most important beat at a paper is the one that you have. You have to cover your beat like it's the most important, or else you aren't doing it justice. Dominating a lower/less important beat should open doors for your to get a higher/ more respected beat at your paper. Also, if you don't think yours is the most important, than I bet the paper can easily find someone to replace you, or just not fill that position.
  11. didntdoit19

    didntdoit19 Member

    You would say that, Jeremy.

    I think it's whatever gets the most eyeballs.
  12. So in your estimation, the Paris Hilton/Brit Spears beat is the most important.
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