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Covering the same game for two papers

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Gator_Hawks, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Gator_Hawks

    Gator_Hawks Member

    I haven't come across this one before, but what do people think about this.

    Yesterday, in the Atlantic 10 men's basketball tournament opening round Saint Joseph's played at George Washington.

    Reading the stories from the game on Philly.com (which is the same company as the Philly Inquirer and Philly Daily News), I saw that a freelancer covered the game for both papers.

    The stories were different, and it is all one company, but I was curious to see what everyone thought.

    Inquirer story: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/colleges/20110309_Hawks_stay_alive_in_A-10.html

    Daily News story: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/colleges/20110309_Saint_Joseph_s_survives_George_Washington_to_advance_in_Atlantic_10_Tournament.html
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    The only way there's anything wrong with it if the papers don't know you're doing it.

    Early in my career when I had to cover a lot of MLS and women's hoops, I made a fortune covering games for additional papers and I usually got the assignments from my boss. A friend of his at the paper in the city of the visiting team would call him and he'd ask me to do it. An extra $75-$100 just to change the lead and a few paragraphs from the gamer I was already doing for my paper? That's a no-brainer.

    I once covered a MLS playoff game for five papers, my own, three papers from the area of the visiting team and a national paper. I had to write a completely different story for the national paper, but they paid me about 3X as much to do it, so I didn't mind. Not counting my regular salary, I think I made an extra $450 that night.
  3. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member


    As long as both companies are aware the writer is doing double duty (and in this case, it might have been one package deal), I don't see anything wrong with it.

    Doesn't take any more time than a sider or notes, even when you rework the whole thing (and I usually did).
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I know a guy who covered a minor league baseball team whose paper stopped letting him string for papers that covered the visiting team. They said his copy was coming in much later than was acceptable and they found out that in some instances when he was stringing for a paper in a different time zone or one that had an earlier deadline, he would file the gamer for them earlier than he would for his own paper. After they stopped letting him string, he did it anyway, but would ask that they not run his byline. Some of the papers agreed to it, some didn't. One paper accidentally ran his byline and he ended up getting suspended for a week. During the week he was suspended, he still covered games for other papers. So basically, he was a complete dumbass.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Why was he a dumbass? He was looking out for what was best for him, and getting paid for it besides. The paper doesn't give a shit about him.

    Now, that being said, he should have taken responsibilty for himself. If he couldn't make deadline for his main paper, then he should have refused the other gig. If he can do both jobs consistently well, then by all means, go for it.
  6. That man knew how to hustle.

    But Baron Scicluna is right. You're a goddamn fool not to file for home first. I do this sort of thing a few times a year and I would never have dreamed of doing it the way he did.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    You always file for home first.
  8. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    Way back when I covered minor league hockey and got a chance to also cover the game for another paper. Another writer in town usually did it but couldn't make the game. After that, the paper called me every time to string it since I actually filed a different gamer than I filed for my paper (I angled it towards their team whereas the other guy filed pretty much the same story). Other guy couldn't figure out why they stopped calling him and were having me do it from then on.
  9. Bamadog

    Bamadog Well-Known Member

    Always file your story for the folks who sign your checks first. That's a no-brainer. Everyone else can wait.

    I've done it a couple of times and I've always tried to give the other paper a story written for their readers. But it gets filed AFTER my primary employer's story. Always. Without exception.

    But sometimes, It's really not worth the extra scratch. After a night like that, I feel like my head wants to implode.
  10. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    I often cover prep games for my daily and a weekly that's on the periphery of our circulation area.

    Our sports editor purposely assigns me to those game so I can make some extra scratch.

    For the weekly, I will change the lead and add extra quotes from its school's coaches and players. That article is often better than my daily because I have time to work on it, unlike the usual 45 minutes or so to complete an article and box.
  11. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

  12. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    In most cases you're right, but there are some exceptions. A few years ago, when our Friday night football deadline was a little later than it is now (11:15), I'd double up and do some games for Jackson. Since their deadline for State edition (the only one that mattered in games I did for them) was 10:30, I'd do about 10-12 inches for them, ship it, then finish up with a little more embellishment and 1-2 more quotes for our deadline. Worked for both papers.
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