Monday, August 23, 2010

Welcome to Public Affairs Reporting

Come on in. Take a look around. We'll use this site in many ways this semester. Check in for:
  • Assignments/deadlines
  • Tip sheets
  • Examples
  • Links to help with your reporting and writing.

Your first assignment:

Choose a public affairs beat that you will cover for the semester. Here are the choices. Pick two from the list below, rank them, and send your choices to me in an e-mail by midnight Monday, Aug. 30. Along with your first choice, include a couple of paragraphs summarizing an ongoing local story on that beat and tell me how you might update it. (What questions would you ask? Who would you talk to?)

1. The CITY BEAT - You'll monitor the institutions that govern urban life in Missoula, including City Hall. It's a big beat, which is good because you'll find lots of stories. The trick is to hunt for news that will mean something to your readers.

2. K-12 SCHOOLS - Another big beat, with lots of news. You've got tens of thousands of students and parents to serve.

3. HIGHER EDUCATION - A crucial beat in Missoula. A lot of people want and need to know what's going on at the University of Montana.

4. The JUSTICE BEAT - Crime and punishment is a staple of community news coverage. We've got lots of law enforcement agencies and courts in this town, and they're always producing news.

5. The ECONOMY - Your job is to give readers they what need to make good decisions about their financial lives. Believe me, this is a rich beat.

6. HEALTH - Everyone cares about this, so we need good, timely reporting on health threats and trends in treatment, costs and access. The health care is big business in Missoula.

7. NATURAL RESOURCES/ENVIRONMENT - Another huge beat in Montana, with enormous consequences for the well-being of your readers. From wolves to weeds, the stories are everywhere.

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