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JRN 2101: Media Writing

Assignment Excerpt -- See Dr. Shaban's Assignment Sheet for Full Details

Question Mark Each student will do one package on a major issue on his or her beat facing the community. You may choose to localize a national story or provide an update on a big local issue

In your beat memo, demonstrate that you have done some preliminary research, including finding relevant data and national news coverage. Feel free to provide hyperlinks to that material.

Books   Find data

Ask yourself these questions before you begin looking for documentary information:

  • What do I think I want to know? What are the possible issues involved in the theme I’ve selected?
  • How many people might be involved with this issue that I propose to write about?
  • What are their characteristics—size of the group, demographics, special or unusual circumstances or trends?
  • What government office or private organization would keep statistics on what I want to know?

You should use primary sources for the data you present. Primary documents provide data and other information created or collected by the author. For example, a college professor who conducts research is the primary source for the data. You may quote the journal in which the professor publishes that data as a primary source. A newspaper account of that research is secondary data and may not be used except for background and leads to primary source data.

Other primary documents sources include—but are not limited to—encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, atlases, biographical dictionaries, government documents, budgets and research reports.

Think visually about the data you need. What information in your story might be displayed as an information graphic?

Special Resource

 CQ Researcher -- Access from the SPU Library databases page:


CQ Researcher