Beat reporting, also known as specialized reporting, is a genre of journalism that can be described as the craft of in-depth reporting on a particular issue, sector, organization or institution over time. Beat reporters build up a base of knowledge on and gain familiarity with the topic, allowing them to provide insight and commentary in addition to reporting straight facts. This distinguishes them from other journalists who might cover similar stories from time to time.
The term comes from the noun beat in the sense of an assigned regular route or habitual path, as for a policeman. By analogy, the beat of a reporter is the topic they have been assigned for reporting.
Several organizations award prizes for beat reporting, of which the Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting, discontinued in 2007, is possibly the best known. Other awards that have a category for beat reporting include the Gerald Loeb Awards, the Canadian National Newspaper Awards, and the SEJ Awards.