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Instructors:
Chapter 11
 

WORKING A BEAT

 

Activities

Test questions & PDF

In addition to the Chapter 11 synopsis and activiites, the PDF download includes the following quiz and exam questions and answers.

 

Quiz/exam questions bank

 

True/False instructions:  Please circle the correct answer.

 

1.  A journalist’s beat is an area of news coverage that involves a set of regular checks with key, relevant sources.  (True or False)  Answer: True

 

2.  One criticism of crime reporting is that it fails to reflect a community accurately because it doesn’t take into account the big picture:  Crime stories may imply that crime is increasing when in fact it’s on the decline.  (True or False)  Answer: True

 

3.  Beginning journalists can fall into one of two traps:  They immediately approach sources as adversaries or they are overly friendly with sources.  Neither is the best way to interact with sources.  (True or False)  Answer: True

 

4.  The major components of covering business in small- or medium-sized communities are attending Rotary Club meetings, getting to know the Chamber of Commerce and writing stories about new businesses.  (True or False)  Answer: False

 

Multiple choice instructions:  Please circle the correct answer.

 

5.  Which of the following are responsibilities connected with a journalist’s beat?  Answer: D

a.  A journalist is expected to serve as watchdog, making sure that those who are responsible to the public are fulfilling their responsibilities.

b.  A journalist is expected to report newsworthy events in a timely manner.

c.  A journalist is expected to learn the issues and trends for that beat and keep up with the related field in general.

d.  All of the above.

 

6.  Which of the following best defines enterprise reporting?  Answer: C

a.  This is business reporting that emphasizes entrepreneurs.  This type of reporting has been emphasized in the wake of the success of Silicon Valley and other tech entrepreneurs.

b.  This is another term for mojos, the mobile journalists who combine reporting, photojournalism, editing and dissemination of information through the social media. 

c.  This means finding a story through talking with various people or investigating, rather than just attending regular meetings or checking blotters or press releases.

d.  All of the above.

 

7.  Which of the following is a good way to go about learning the police beat?  Answer: D

a.  Visit all the police stations and sheriff’s offices, introduce yourself to as many people as possible and ask for a tour.

b.  Ask for a copy of standard operating procedures and study it.  Ask a police officer to tell you about local arrest procedures.

c.  Cultivate sources other than public officials—talk with probation officers, social workers, and representatives of victims’ associations.

d.  All of the above.

 

8.  Which of the following best defines a journalist’s tickler file?  Answer: B

a.  This is a file of personal career goals the journalist should keep checking in order to stay motivated to make timely progress in promotions and raises.

b.  This is a file of issues to keep checking on, such as an upcoming hearing on a court case, a follow-up report or a meeting that deals with an issue the journalist has been covering.

c.  This is a file where a journalist keeps humorous quotes and cartoons.

d.  None of the above.

 

Short answer instructions:  In three or four sentences, please answer the following questions.

 

9.  What is a beat?  Please a.) define the term, and b.) provide an example to illustrate.

 

Answer:  A beat is an area of news coverage that involves a set of regular checks with key, relevant sources.  Examples will vary.

 

10.  Establishing and maintaining professional relationships with sources on a beat you cover can bring up issues of conflict of interest, or just the appearance of a conflict of interest.   Please describe one way this might happen, using a specific example to illustrate.

 

Answers will vary, but students should indicate that they recognize the importance of maintaining professional distance, even as they cultivate sources. 

 

11.  Suggest a new beat for your campus, describe it, and provide your justification for it.

 

Answer:  Beats will vary, but students should include news values and perhaps principles such as justice and stewardship.  Beats should steer clear of free advertising or public relations and conflict of interest.

 

Long answer instructions:  In 10 to 12 sentences, please answer the following question.

 

12.  You have been assigned the education beat at your school.  Describe the first five steps you’d take and why.

 

Answer:  Specifics will vary, but students could include checking the archives of their news organization and other local news outlets; looking for trends in past coverage and what the big stories have been; identifying terms and processes with which they need to become familiar; and identifying human sources and setting up meet-and-greet interviews.