Media organizations develop systems to provide information of interest to their audiences and to cover a broad range of emerging and ongoing issues within their communities. Beat reporting is part of a newsroom's system for managing and prioritizing news coverage. Beats are subject-matter divisions for potential news reporting. Typical news beats may include police, courts, government, education, business, sports, health, science, travel, entertainment, and lifestyle. Much like “beat cops”—police officers who patrol a certain geographic area—beat reporters may be assigned a particular geographic area. The government beat, for example, is often subdivided into city, county, state, and national government beats.

Beats also may be subdivided by level. For example, the education beat may be divided between K–12 and higher education. Similarly, the court beat may be ...

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