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Working the beat in news

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    So at my place, because of staff reductions, we are going away from meeting based coverage and going to more enterprise reporting.

    While enterprise has always been viewed as more time consuming, when you look at three hours sitting in a meeting, plus the hour you spend going through the agenda and the hour after compiling your notes, and then an hour to write and you've just blown a day for a story that the deck is going to whack down to 12 inches anyway.

    Or can you spend that day writing a deeply researched enterprise piece that's 30 inches and something actually worth reading?

    I've seen some chatter on Romenesko about other papers following the same trend.

    The problem has been getting pushback, not always from readers, but from public officials who complain that they don't see reporters at the meetings or it isn't the relationship they are accustomed to. So sources start to dry up and that makes the reporting more difficult.

    The same is also somewhat true in sports. How many reporters just watch practice anymore? Assuming they are even able.

    I was curious to hear what others are doing.

  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Why would it take an hour to go through the agenda and an hour to go through notes? If you're on the beat, shouldn't you have a pretty good idea of what's on the docket already? And if the meeting's just happening, shouldn't it be pretty fresh in your mind?
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    It's because news people suck, Baron.

  4. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    People who are good at their jobs put time and effort into them, Baron.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    So people who don't need to take two hours to read an agenda and their notes aren't good at their jobs?
  6. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    I think the "hour going through the agenda" is trying to anticipate what's going to happen at, say, a nighttime city council meeting, so you can give editors an idea what to expect. This may involve contacting city council members, city officials, community activists, etc.

    Of course, then you go to the meeting and the bastards table the item you thought would be the story ...
  7. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    But if you're on the beat, shouldn't you know what's going to be tabled? [/baron]
  8. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Well, that makes more sense in contacting people. I read it as if taking an hour to go through Podunkville's one-sheet agenda.
  9. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    Not everyone works in Podunkville.
  10. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I just got a city council meeting packet in my e-mail.

    It is 46 pages, plus communications and attachments of maps and other things. Buried at the end of communications is a lengthy letter to the mayor about an ongoing issue from a nearby city on an ongoing issue.

    This one is actually pretty small. I've had agendas in the hundreds of pages when the attachments and communications are included.

    The really good stuff is always buried and never discussed at meetings.
  11. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Boo hoo.

    It's not like you had to type in a box score or anything!
  12. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Fucking-A better have that CP done by 6 or you're not allowed to cover that meeting covering 46 pages of civic stuffs.
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