Assignment 1: Multimedia Beat Note

Due Thursday, Feb. 6 at beginning of class
Worth 10 points (No late work accepted)

A beat note or “beat memo” is a way that reporters let their editors and others know what they are working on. They often include story ideas, where the person is reporting, and sources.

This multimedia beat note assignment is designed to get you out on Route 47 and help you explore. The goal is to see things, talk to people, and start brainstorming ideas.

Here are some resources to inspire you in your assignment:

Family Beat: Stories We Tell Around the Kitchen Table (Nieman Lab)
Beat Memos: Two examples
Richard Koci Hernandez image hunting in Mission District (Lynda.com)
Once Around an Island (NYTimes)
Jim MacMillian’s Instagram

Specific requirements:

1. Take 40 photos along Route 47 (worth 2 points)
You can go to one location or you can visit several. Take your time.

Strive to get:
-10 photos with people or action
-10 wide angle shots
-10 medium shots
-10 close ups

See a former student’s photo essay on Brooklawn.

2. Interview and photograph a local (worth 2 points)
Go somewhere on Route 47 and find someone interesting. You must go off campus and talk to people who aren’t connected to Rowan. Introduce yourself. Explain the class project. Ask them about their job, business, or whatever it is that connects them to Delsea Drive. Who are they? What do they do? Why are they here? Take notes. Get quotes. Get full names. Take a photo of them that says something about who they are and what they do.

You must get:
-A photo
-Full name, age, occupation
-Exact location (address if possible)
-Contact info (phone, email, Twitter account, etc) so you can follow up
-A good word-for-word quote (2-3 sentences)

See a former student’s photo of Big John.

3. Three story ideas (worth 6 points)
Pitch three solid story ideas.

Your story ideas can come from research, other news stories, social media, flyers, bulletin boards, events, things you overhear, a way to localize a national story, or something about the past.

Each story idea pitch should be about 150-200 words long. Do your research. Your pitch should explain why this is a compelling story and include at least two likely sources for each.

Follow the advice given here:

Do not tell me “A lot of bands come to town and it would be fun to write about them.”

Tell me instead: There’s a band called Those Darlins coming to play at Proud Larrys – they represent a new wave of indie rock out of Nashville, and this show is part of a new touring corridor that puts Oxford on the map of bigger-ticket shows.” I would like to talk with the person who books talent at Proud Larry’s, as well as the band’s manager ______ and the lead singer _______.

Do not tell me: “The men’s tennis team is awesome.”

Tell me instead: Half of the men’s tennis team is from outside of the U.S. — the recruiting staff spends $____ each year traveling abroad to court them. This year, they’ll go to Spain, Sweden and Portugal – I plan to write about a typical recruiting year and the lengths they go to, literally, to bring top-notch players to Ole Miss. I plan to talk to the players __________ and_________ as well as the assistant head coach_______.

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