While the format and style of news content evolves around audiences’ use of new technologies, the basic process of news reporting remains timeless and takes place today much as it always has. First comes the idea for a story, which grows from a reporter’s curiosity and observations, informed by an understanding of what is important to the audience.

Reporters watch for news. Many times events are thrust upon journalists, but often investigative reporters must dig out stories that take time, effort, and skill to uncover. Second, once reporters have found a story idea, they search for background information and interview sources. Finally, they verify their facts and write the story. As a newspaper reporter, you may be assigned to a specific news beat or area of coverage. News beats vary according to the size of your media organization and the community in which it operates.

They range from city government, business, education, sports, and agriculture to police, fire, courts, medicine, and entertainment. On your own news beat, you constantly watch for any news that might affect your readers or viewers. You attend local meetings and events, scour public records, and cultivate sources who can provide you with news tips on emerging stories.


Whatever happens on your beat, your editors and readers expect you to know about it first.