2020 – Fall: The Beat: Neighborhood News (Print/Online Track)

Course Number: JOUR-UA 201, section 4

Day & Time: Thu | 10:00 AM – 1:40 PM

Location: Online

Instructor: Frank Flaherty

Syllabus: Download

Prerequisite: JOUR-UA 101 Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word

This course is designed to hone the student journalist’s ability to research and report deeply and to be able to imagine and develop fresh ideas, test them with the strength of his or her reporting and resarch, and then to present them in story form. Students will be expected to keep weekly beat notes or blogs, exploring what is current in the topic and demonstrating week after week the shoeleather they have worn in pursuit of their subject matter. Out of this work will come four or five stories in narrative, explanatory or investigative style, depending on the instructor and the specific assignment. Syllabi differ by content of the course but all sections emphasize idea development, interview technique, reporting, background research and writing skills across genres. Broadcast sections vary only by medium.

Notes: Required for students pursuing the print/online track in the journalism major. Also required for the minor in print and online journalism. Counts as an elective for the minor in broadcast and multimedia journalism.


Downtown, the most fabled and colorful slice of New York, flows south from 14th Street, attracting tourists to the High Line, Wall Streeters to the financial district, and hipsters to the Lower East Side. It’s where the mayor sits, where the Staten Island Ferry docks, where the courts are centered and where much of the city’s cultural, fashion, political, legal and artistic news unfurls.

In this course, students will fan out and investigate this rich beat, connecting with Downtown’s varied cast of newsmakers and colorful characters. We will study the craft of writing and appraise other journalists’ work, but the heart of the class will be to hatch timely news and feature story ideas, and to learn how to report them out: Where to find solid sources, how to conduct fruitful interviews and how to ferret out elusive facts. Reporting is the raw material from which we make all our stories — we can’t have a story without it.