Beat Note 1

Due Monday, Feb. 2 at beginning of class
Worth 5 points (No late work accepted)
Please post all of your media to before you come to class on Monday. 

Here are instructions for how to turn-in/post your assignment.

A beat note or “beat memo” is a way that reporters let their editors and coworkers 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. Be creative. Try new things. Take risks.

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 (
Once Around an Island (NYTimes)
Jim MacMillian’s Instagram

Assignment requirements:

1. Take 20 photos somewhere along Route 47 (worth 1 points)

You can go to one location or you can visit several. Take your time. Take the best photos you can. Look for things that will get your viewer’s attention.

Strive to get:
-5 photos with people or action
-5 wide angle shots
-5 medium shots
-5 close ups

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 if you can ask them a few questions and take their picture. Take notes and/or record audio.

You have three main questions:

Ask: Do you have a favorite place that is unique to South Jersey?

A store? A restaurant? An outdoor location? If someone came to South Jersey for first time, where would you take them to give them a “local experience.” And why? Try to get them to be as specific as possible. For example, if they say “the Shore,” then ask where specifically (What town? Where in the town? What street on the beach) and why.

Ask: Is there a South Jersey story/issue that you think students should cover this semester?

What kinds of things don’t get enough attention from media? What is it? Why do you think it’s important.

Ask: Basic information.

  • Name
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Location of interview
  • Some kind of contact information so you can follow up (phone, email, etc
  • A portrait (from shoulders up)

4. Two story ideas (worth 2 points)

Pitch two solid story ideas for the Delsea Drive beat.

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 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_______.

How to Turn-in/Post Your Assignment

Log-in to

Make a New Post (Don’t use the Quick Post option. Go to Dashboard>Posts>Add New.)

Add “Your Name’s Beat Note 1” as the headline.

Upload your 20 photos. Insert them into the post as a Gallery.

Post your Interview info:

-A photo
-Full name, age, occupation
-Exact location (address if possible)
-Contact info (phone, email, Twitter account, etc) so you can follow up
-His/her favorite South Jersey location
-Her/his South Jersey issue they think students should cover
-Most interesting thing they said to you. A word-for-word quote (2-3 sentences)

Post your two story ideas

Set a feature image (your best photo)

Publish your post.

Visit to make sure it is visible.

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