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Annual byline count?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by big green wahoo, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. The higher-ups at my shop have demanded more stories per year out of me.

    Without delving into quality or the tendency of some beat men to write more features, etc., do some of you happen to know how many bylines you've produced in recent years?

    I realize there's probably a wide variation, but I'm trying to get at least a vague idea of what's typical in a fulltime beat job that mixes preps and colleges with a little general assignment.

    Thanks for your time.
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Unless you're totally slacking off, then I'd be demanding more money for the extra bylines.

    In all seriousness, though, what is the basis of your higher-ups demanding more bylines?
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    That's so hard to say - I used to pull between 425-450 when I was doing year 'round beat work. I'd help with preps and cover the horse track during the school offseason. When I started doing three months of desk 60 percent and writing 40 percent, I'd still get close to 400.

    But I didn't have to blog or do constant web updates for much of that time.

    Most of our full-time beat guys were in that range. Autos guy always led the pack, he/she was closer to 500.

    Byline counts are a very small part of how anyone's level/quality of work should be judged. The Year of Marcus Vick, those covering Virginia Tech had an abnormally high count. I'm sure every major college beat writer will have a high count this year after expansion stuff took up much of June.
  4. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    The auto guy before me did. I think I was at like 250. I slacked.

    Moddy's numbers aren't far off. You figure you're looking at 350 if you're doing one story a day x 50 weeks. But on game days you'll have more than one story, and so on and so forth.
  5. John

    John Well-Known Member

    As a beat guy I probably average 10-12 a week during the school year and six a week in the June and July. The guys covering the two biggest beats at our paper probably do about 15 percent more for the year.
  6. exposbabe

    exposbabe New Member

    I just did a search out of curiosity, and I'm at 254 for the year - and I don't have a specific beat other than tennis, which I don't cover every week.
    That doesn't include probably about 1,500 posts on my tennis blog, a few thousand photos I took at tournaments posted online, and probably a few hundred video clip packages.

    The count for 2009 was 359.

    When I was on the baseball beat it was probably around 450.
  7. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    Unless you're working seven days a week (which hey, we've all been there), it's more like 250. A story a day for five days a week for 50 weeks.

    The other question is what counts as a byline. At my shop, some notes packages don't because our name goes in a tagline at the end rather than in the traditional byline spot. I do, easy, 50 of those a year and they don't go in my technical "byline" count, but they take as long as any other notes package that my name goes on. It's just packaged differently. Differences between shops may mean the number varies widely.

    (FTR, I think my byline count last year was 299, but that doesn't include those notes or the variety of non-bylined "staff reports" I put together on my beat for when teams were on the road).
  8. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I'm producing 7-8 stories a week, which works out to about 400 on the year...perhaps a bit more when you consider I usually put a story or two in the can before leaving on vacations. :)

    Really it comes down to priorities. Choose which story in each issue or each week that you want to invest the most time in, then stick to some basic phone calls and simple interviews to crank out the "extra" bylines.
  9. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Another option...ask management how much overtime is being made available to cover the extra stories they are demanding. Tread carefully, but make it clear that you're not going to be putting in 50-hour weeks for 40-hour paychecks.
  10. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I've never met a quality editor who demanded x number of bylines. The best ones trust their reporters and the reporters return that respect by turning out good stories, regularly. Reporters might help each other out if one of them was working on something that required some digging and they'd turn out a few extra stories for a week or two, and that courtesy was returned.
    If an editor can't be bothered to read anything more than a byline, they are in way over their head.
  11. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I also think that if byline counts are that important, then ask the editors how many bylines do they expect. If they're that insistent, tie them to a number.
  12. They're not demanding a number. I tend to like to write more in-depth pieces, and I can see I'm going to need to shelve that habit and concentrate on more quick-hitting stories.

    400 bylines a year blows my mind. I'm clearly a minor-leaguer.
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