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A disturbing sign of the times

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Drip, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I have a major problem with this ad. If you want someone to cover the thing, pay them and give them benefits. Damn is that too much to ask for?
    The Northwest Herald, a perennial APSE Top 10 section for a decade, is seeking a freelance reporter to cover Chicago's Major League Baseball clubs.

    This is a contract position that will last through the duration of the MLB regular season. The reporter will cover five games a week and file one feature story a week. They also are the primary writer for our "Payoff Pitch" Chicago baseball blog and Twitter feed. They will be paid per story and blog entry.

    The successful candidate should have some MLB coverage experience and understand how to use their access to the players and personalities and behind-the-scenes details to create interesting stories for our readers. Coverage should be up-to-the minute online and analytical, original, and intriguing in print.

    The Northwest Herald is based in Crystal Lake, Ill., about 40 mi. from downtown Chicago. The person who takes this job most likely will need to live in Chicago.

    If you're interested, please send a resume and clips to Eric Olson, sports editor, PO Box 250, Crystal Lake IL 60039-0250, or e-mail it to eolson@nwherald.com.
  2. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    I bet the stack of applicants could choke a dumpster, too.

    The availability of work, and the supply of bodies willing to do it, helps the bean-counters set the terms.

    Doesn't make it right, just makes it reality.
  3. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I can see larger city papers doing this, and getting away with it, because of the surplus of writing bodies.
  4. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    I thought it was lame as well.

    The market dictates the terms.
  5. Mediator

    Mediator Member

    They could call it a bleacher report.

    I think it might raise tricky issues as well. If an editor asks you for a number, so that another staffer can do a sidebar or something, do you have to give it up? It would be your competitive advantage as an independent contractor to keep the source information private, unless you got paid for it. You aren't part of the team.
  6. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    You know the alternative isn't hiring a full-timer with bennies, it's doing nothing and running wire. So it's tough to be too critical, imo. Someone will get a pretty good six-month freelance gig, and that kind of work is vanishing just like the FT jobs.
  7. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    I'm not 100-percent sure on this, but I believe the Wilmington, N.C., paper used to do something similar for ACC football/basketball coverage.

    Sure, it's not ideal, but if it means mid-sized papers are going to be covering something other than high schools and little leagues it might not be all bad. It depends on what they are paying. I think a lot of ESPN.com's writers work under similar deals.
  8. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Sportswriters have become college football assistant coaches.
  9. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    LA Times did this last season with hockey, contracting a freelancer to cover Ducks and Kings after a staffer was moved to the UCLA beat.
  10. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Which means its only a matter of time before one of the big boys decides its the way to go to handle pro football, college football, college basketball, pro basketball or major league baseball.
  11. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    "Matter of time" covers a lot of ground, but the NFL is damn near untouchable. Look at last weekend's ratings. No major paper is farming out that coverage anytime soon.
  12. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Play, I would've said the same thing about the Herald as far back as a year ago. And definitely would've said the same thing about the Times and its hockey coverage. You're right, matter of time does cover a lot of ground but it seems that it's getting covered very quickly in some places.
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