I recently completed a multimedia package of teaching tools aimed at teaching undergraduates how to cover a police beat for a newspaper.
Check out the video: Pounding the Pavement: A Day On the Police Beat
Check out the audio slide show: Understanding the Police Beat
Ultimately, I would love to teach an online class that introduces students to many of the beats at a traditional newspaper. Ideally, students would watch/listen to the multimedia teaching tools, then they would go out and cover a story on that beat. Simultaneously, they would blog about the issues they encountered while on the beat.