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 Should beat reporters beat-it?

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KristenCNPA
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Registration date : 2006-11-17

PostSubject: Should beat reporters beat-it?   Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:34 pm

An article by Edward Wasserman of the Miami Herald suggests that beat reports are no longer relevant. Below is an excerpt and you can read the full article by clicking on the link at the bottom. Do you agree with him?

"Under the beat system, reporters are assigned specific subject areas and, more to the point, responsibility to cover the public or private institutions that dominate them. The upside of the beat system is clear. It encourages journalists to develop pockets of expertise so they can report knowledgeably on topics that require focus and specialization to understand.

But the beat system also requires reporters to get to know the people who control the information their coverage depends on, so they can call on those sources and rely on them. And here's where the problems begin. The reporter's success in covering a beat depends on the cooperation of the people being covered -- and not just their cooperation, but their good will. If you deliberately set out to invent an arrangement less conducive to tough, adversarial reporting, it would be hard to beat beats. And indeed, bird-dogging the powerful wasn't the reason the beat system arose in the late 19th century."

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/columnists/edward_wasserman/16407179.htm
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