Last week, I sat down with Tucson Weekly staffers Jim Nintzel and Mari Herreras, and news freelancers Tim Vanderpool and Brian J. Pedersen, to discuss and firm up the various beats that we cover.
Here is the informal list of beats assigned to each regular contributor to our Currents section:
• Jim Nintzel, firstname.lastname@example.org: city hall, state and congressional politics, science.
• Mari Herreras, email@example.com: Pima County, education, LGBT and diversity issues.
• Tim Vanderpool, firstname.lastname@example.org: environmental issues, animal issues, the U.S./Mexico border, prisons.
• Brian J. Pedersen, email@example.com: the northwest side, Green Valley/Sahuarita, poverty issues, sports.
Keep in mind that because of limited resources, there's no way we'll be able to cover everything—but we'll do our best to cover as much as we can.
These beats are flexible. Sometimes, a writer will cover a story within someone else's beat, for various reasons. It's also worth noting that this list only includes the four folks who contribute almost every week to Currents. For example, Leo W. Banks and Margaret Regan will continue to cover border issues, and Tom Danehy will keep covering sports. And J.M. Smith is our medical-marijuana man—but his stuff doesn't go in the Currents section, so it's not listed here.
Some may wonder why we're bothering with these beats, given all the flexibility and caveats I've added. Well, think of it this way: If a reader has a story tip, I want him/her to know who to contact. I also want our writers to know what they should be keeping an eye on—especially considering the fact that there are nowhere near as many professional journalists working in Tucson as there were five years ago.
As always, comments and feedback are welcome. Thanks for reading.