“Today’s Quote” of Washington Times (February 1) picked up the answer of White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney to a reporter when he was asked by the reporter whether the White House was planning a concerted effort on job creation just as it has on immigration reform and gun control. :
"I know you're kind of new to the beat, but this president has been focused on this issue more than any other, and that will not change."
What does “the beat” here mean? Is it situation, place, trend, or movement? Apparently the questioner seems to be a cub reporter to Press Secretary. Doesn't Carney's answer carry a derogatory tone?
I can’t find the usage of ‘beat’ in this form in English dictionaries at hand.