Sun 1 Mar, 2015 02:11 pm
Here is the context
Set beats, diary stories, presentation of opinions rather than facts, the use of news wire and public relations material, and the recycling of news within and across formats , have all become a naturalized part of news production
A beat is the routine duty a policeman walks (in bygone days in the '50s and '60s).
News reporters also have their newsbeats ...the contacts and routines they follow in order to vet and/or get his/her stories completed.
So ..my thought is ...a set beat
means a fixed routine of duties that a reporter or media follows to get a story out to the public..
Beat means the territory one covers--that was true in the 19th and 20th century with regard to police officers and reporters. A set beat, then would in the context of journalism mean the territory the reporter habitually covers--society news, fashion news, sports, politics, international news--any one of several areas of journalism. Even more than police officers, journalists tend to develop a particular area in which they are, or hope to be taken for expert. That is their set beat.
Beat me daddy, eight to the bar.
There still are police beats, at least up to 2005, when the New York City policeman, Edward Conlan, had his non-fiction book, Blue Blood, published to much acclaim from critics, and now that I've read it, also acclaim by me.