We are pleased to be working with the INF 240 class again this semester. My name is Nick Schwien, director of Tiger Media Network. My office is located in Room 155 in Hammond Hall, or you can contact me at (785) 628-4684 (office number).
We are excited about helping you develop and craft solid beat stories. In the past semester, we had students covering Hays City Commission, Ellis County Commission and Hays USD 489 Board of Education meetings. These meetings then spun off other story assignments as well through the beat reporting in Dr. Loggins’ class.
Last semester, we had several students beat the local media outlets on reporting important topics — which will become even more crucial as local media outlets dwindle in size. We have shown that readers throughout the city, county, region and state are starting to look at TMN as a viable news alternative to learn what is going on in the region.
This beat development you will partake in will help you solidify your reporting skills using written articles, video and audio. It is important that whatever beat you choose, you should spend some quality time researching each entity and looking beyond just the normal “stories” that might result. Being able to find the stories inside the stories is crucial to becoming a quality beat reporter.
It is also important to learn and become associated with the key players in each beat, whether it be a city commission, county commission, state board, other government entity, etc. This will open new avenues of communication for yourself as you develop each beat.
One key element is never being afraid to ask any question you might have. Chances are, if you have a certain question, there are going to be readers that have that question as well. If you can get an answer straight from the source, then that will go a long way to informing the public — which should be an important component of your beat reporting.
Remember to report just the facts that you can verify, not rumors. If you hear a rumor, ask someone a question about it and report what they are saying. If you stick with the facts, you will not need to worry about retracting something in the future.
Beat reporting is important, and sometimes the beats you cover won’t always be the most exciting. But, being able to report what is going on in the city, county or region is important to keep the communities educated about what is going on.
Depending on the relevancy of your beat stories, TMN might post the work on our website — tigermedianet.com. This work then will be available to the public. We will offer suggestions for stories and ways you can improve them as well to make sure they are fit for publication.
We hope you see strong development in your work from the start of the semester to the end. Any story that is published in any format by TMN can be used in your portfolios for possible future employment after graduation. This combination of INF 240 and TMN allows students to build up their portfolio and tweak their craft throughout the semester.
One important thing to remember as well is to continually work to improve. Don’t be overwhelmed with your first assignment or second or third, etc. Keep improving and honing your craft. All great reporters don’t start out that way. It takes several stories to grow as a multimedia journalist. Learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to grow. You are the future of the industry.
If you have any questions, please let myself or Russ know. We are more than happy to work with you all and help in any way possible. We also hope you all consider joining TMN as well, if you are not already involved. We offer payment for each project that is published by TMN if it is not part of a class requirement.
Stop by my office and introduce yourself sometime, or send an email if you are an online student. We are always excited to help and get people involved. We are here to help you, so please take advantage of this opportunity.