Module 1: Getting Started

Get ready for an exciting semester as a news reporter! In this module, you’ll become acquainted with the class and each other. I’m looking forward to working with you once again or for the first time!

start the journey

As discussed in the syllabus, you will write a beat story for the Tiger Media Network (TMN) every other week. In the past, students have covered, among other things, FHSU Faculty-Senate, Hays City Commission, and the Ellis County Board of Education. With this first virtual semester, you get to choose your beat and where it is located.

Hays and other western Kansas stories will probably work best for TMN, but if you want to cover a government agency in your area, no matter where it is in the world, that can work too. However, before you cover your beat, you must understand it. This module will help you do that. Enjoy!

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify and be able to use the different features of the online learning space
  • Identify the Course Policies & Goals
  • Begin thinking about the news
  • Define your beat

Assigned Reading: 

  1. Review the course navigation in Blackboard and the Blog
  2. Read the course syllabus
  3. Read 3 Things Journalism Writing Can Teach Students
  4. Watch Colbert’s Me Reports video below

5. Poynter Self-Directed Course, Lesson 1 & 5: Introduction to Beat Reporting

    • Lesson 1: Focus Your Coverage
    • Lesson 5: 10 Typical Beats (examine at least two beats that interest you)
    • For help accessing and initially navigating the course, see Poynter Tips.

6. Welcome to TMN post by Nick Schwien.

Assignments (Due by 9 am CT on 9/1):

  1. [Blackboard Quiz 1]: Complete the quiz. It covers the syllabus, the TurnItIn article on 3 Things, and a lesson from Colbert’s Me Reports story.
  2. [Blog Post 1] Introduce yourself to your classmates and share your thoughts on the news.
  3. [Blog Post 2] Post your Beat Description, post two replies to help at least two classmates develop additional ideas for their beats, and be sure to acknowledge or respond to any replies you get.
  4. [Introductory Meeting] Schedule a brief “hello.” If my office hours do not suit your schedule, just email me ( with a time that will work for you.

Class Meetings: Tu/Th from 9 to 10:15

General meeting information is in the Live Discussion category. For the most part, I intend to use a Flipped Classroom approach for meetings. We do our readings and begin many assignments outside of class. Sometimes we’ll discuss drafts and initial answers in class., sometimes it will be time for you to work on your answers and ask me questions as you work.

As a result, you should prepare drafts or initial attempts at assignments listed below before the corresponding class. You can then finalize your work before the module deadline. If you are unable to attend a class but have questions, please email your questions or concerns to me the night before. It should help me explain the work to your classmates and make it easier for me to respond via email or during the Zoom meeting, which you can review at your convenience.

  • Tuesday, August 18
    • Prepare: Quiz 1
    • In Class: Introductions, questions and concerns about class, help with Poynter’s Introduction to Beat Reporting
  • Thursday, August 20
    • Prepare: Blog Post 1 & Initial Beat Ideas
    • In Class: Additional course questions, initial news views (from Post 1), and beat possibilities.
  • Tuesday, August 25
    • Prepare: Draft of your beat description (Blog Post 2)
    • In Class: Continue working on beat description or other class work
  • Thursday, August 27
    • Prepare: Beat Descriptions
    • In Class: Present your beat description to classmates

Feel free to move on to Module 2 whenever you are ready.

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