Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version



Published in Quill May 2006. Quill is published and copyright by the Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Today, you've been assigned a new beat at your newspaper. You don't have the expertise, and you have less time than you imagined to master it. Or perhaps, you've landed in a new city on a new beat, and you have to get up to speed yesterday. In the corporate world, most leaders expect their new hires to be effective in about six months. When you can make the transition fast, you can make solid contributions to the paper. A four-step plan can help you create a strategy that gives you direction and brings greater depth to your coverage. A little tinkering to fit your particular job and the process works for anyone in the newsroom. It goes like this: Pull the paper; poll the people; plan your approach; and process and proceed with your plan.