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August 23 , 2009

Field Guide to Covering Local News

How to Report on Cops, Courts, Schools, Emergencies and Government


In the latest installment of the Field Guide series, Fred Bayles takes you step-by-step through the process of identifying and covering the events and issues that matter most to your community. For the five local beats—cops, courts, emergencies, schools, and government—you'll learn where to go for information and how to organize and present the stories your neighbors want and need. An overview of tools and techniques include tips on how to find sources, conduct interviews, work with editors, tap the power of the crowd and think multimedia. Then, for each beat, you'll get specifics on:

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  • People: The best official and unofficial sources of info, and what to ask them. Places: Where to go on the beat, and what to look for while you're there.
  • Documents: Where to find records in offices and online, how to decipher and use them.
  • Stories: Overview of common story types and how to go beyond them.
  • Resources: Glossary of key terms, checklists, helpful web links.

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