I have learned a lot this year about covering police, city council and school board meetings, courts, and reporting in general. In covering the police beat, I found that the best way to get started on a story or idea is to go through the public safety log at the police station. In those logs you can possibly find the beginnings of a great story. Going through records, I learned, is also incredibly useful when covering meetings. At the meeting it might be hard to follow along, so having a copy of the minutes with you can help understand what's going on and double-check facts and numbers. Like with meetings, courts can also be potentially confusing to follow along. A good understanding of the local law and legal terms can help greatly when writing a court story. Overall, I learned about reporting that while you don't have to be an expert on the subject your covering, having a basic understanding is essential. And that's what I would recommend to future reporting students: if you don't know what's going on, found out. And either found out by asking or investigating.