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Byline Quotas/Counts

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Doc Holliday, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Just wondering, anybody out there work at a shop that requires a minimum number of bylines a day/week? What are they and what do you think of them?

    While I get the sentiment that byline requirements "encourage" working, (which all employers want hard working employees) it seems to also say we don't trust or believe you're working.

    At the same time it says we don't give a crap about what you're writing or the quality of it, just write something. Not exactly good for morale.
  2. We had them ..
    They lasted a few months and went away.
    I never worried about it too much. If you do a good job - solid work - keep on, keeping on. We had some lazy reporters and it provided editors with a reason to ride them for more productivity.
    You do your job, stay busy and you won't have to worry about it.
  3. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Oh I'm not worried about them. I do my job. Just wondered what others on here thought.
  4. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    ME tried to enforce that in sports at one of my first stops, but sports editor came to the rescue, reminding him we also took info for briefs.
  5. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    I had an SE who was the exact opposite. He would slap his byline on just about any re-written press release but told me when I wrote 40 inches of prep roundup, it had to come with a staff byline. I had the ME on my ass until I explained to her how much exactly I was actually doing on any given day.
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    We had a thread on here a couple of years ago after one paper made it a newsroom policy, and the consensus, as I recall, was how stupid and ridiculous it was, because it didn't reflect actually how much work or the quality of it being done.

    The idea was to put a byline on every little brief to reach the quota.
  7. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    At my first job, they would post a byline count at the end of the year.

    Our lead NFL writer would have the most every year. He worked his ass off and would usually lead everyone by probably 100.

    I liked it because it showed how much work the general assignment guys were doing and how little some of the backups on the professional beats were doing. I was always in the top 5 out of a huge staff because I had a few smaller beats that I covered, but I was writing sidebars from every NFL game, a lot of major college games and would help out whenever they would ask. We had backups on major beats who consistently would not have 100 bylines in a year. It was a union ship so nobody every did anything about it.

    Posting the list was an effort to shame them and it didn't work.
  8. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Wow, 100 stories in a full year and that's it? That's not even one every three days. I'd have gotten fired 15 years ago if I worked like that. What a bunch of lazy POS.
  9. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    We had one guy, a backup NFL writer, who over a 3-year period had 86, 97 and 98 bylines. He'd average two bylines a week during the season, one was a game sider and usually a notebook once during the week. He benefited from having two workhorses on the beat and they knew he couldn't do anything right, so they never asked him to do anything. They would send him on the road to write 12 inches, because the time they asked him to write two, he would blow deadline on a 4 p.m. start. It was a joke. He was a piece of garbage. He was an older guy who was just phoning it in until he could retire. He did this for 15-20 years.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    This is a moot point now. All about web hits.
  11. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    That is just horrifying. I know unions are tough. But how in the world did this guy not get fired for being a lazy POS?
  12. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    I don't think that paper has ever fired a writer. I know of one person there who resigned before they fired him, but that's it and that was an extreme situation.

    When I was there, management was scared shitless of the union. They had to go through so many steps to get someone fired that they were never willing to do it, no matter how much that person deserved to be canned.
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