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Do you have a weekly byline minimum?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DemoChristian, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. For those of you working in newspapers, is there an expected minimum number of bylines each week?
    If so, what is it, and do you have other responsibilities (photo, editing, designing, etc.)? How are those accounted for?
  2. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I don't have a minimum, but it's "expected" that I've got at least five stories a week. I try to do at least seven, but even if I only wrote four, most likely nothing would be said.
  3. Oz

    Oz Active Member

    Sounds like all my stops, though there are weeks when reporters might work on a project or long features and focus on that for the week, in which case they might have only a story or two.
  4. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Active Member

    We have a minimum of five bylines per week. I try to do six or seven (being the only full-time writer, it's not hard), others see if they can get away with three or four. Management treats the underachievers and overachievers with the same thinly-veiled disdain.

    No shooting (yet), but our lack of a copy desk means I usually end up reading sports and the A section. Design work normally happens in the summer, when the SE takes his month-long vacation. As far as I can tell, there is no accounting for these other duties. We're expected to do them on top of our writing and chalk it up to being a "team player."
  5. Petrie

    Petrie Guest

    There's definitely an expected minimum at my paper of about 8-10 a week, and our EIC/ME checks it during random 7-day periods. If you're at or above it, he won't say anything to you, but if you're at like 6, for example, you better have a good reason.

    Those good reasons do include design. We have a universal copy desk most nights, but sports lays out its own section on Sundays (used to be Sun/Mon). Since my SE chose not to learn InDesign when we switched over and we just went from a 3-person crew to 2, I now have design every Sunday, so the expected is probably more like 6-8.

    For our SE to be happy, the EIC has to be happy, which means churn out plenty of copy, and make sure some of it is off the wall enough to attract people other than our bread-and-butter sports fans...which is how I became a beat writer for both Special Olympics and semi-pro football.
  6. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    What is semi-pro? They semi get paid? Never understood that classification.
  7. Our writers, who are just that and nothing more (i.e. no layout or editing duties) are expected to produce two stories a day at least one column a week and a weekend (Sunday-Monday-Tuesday when things are at a lull) story.
    Folks with desk and/or editing duties are expected to churn out one byline a day.

    The ME gets monthly byline reports and posts them, but neither he nor the SE says much. Why would they with our rapidly shrinking page count and web width? We have much less space to fill than we had last year.
    And our writers are pretty steady at producing copy. So it has seldom been a problem.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Probably means they get something like $250-$300 per game. Not enough to make a living off football, but enough to say they aren't amateurs.
  9. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    As for byline minimums, when I started at my current shop, the CEO was bitching about the reporters not filing five stories a week. When I first started, that was the standard I was enforcing. In my very first meeting as editor, I said bluntly, "I expect five stories a week."

    Since then, I've revised the numbers depending on how many students we have writing for the paper. Sometimes, I've told our reporter to make it three stories plus a series of news briefs.

    There've been some weeks in which I've written four stories plus crime briefs plus my column plus paginated plus assigned stories plus other duties. And occasionally taken photos. Working 80 hours a week is not completely atypical.
  10. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    No one's ever said anything to me, but I generally have nine bylines (including notebooks) in a week if I'm at an event. The weeks I'm on GA duty, that goes down obviously.
  11. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Does a story or more a day, 8-10 a week, translate into copy that may not be as "quality" as working on 3-4 longer or more in-depth stories a week?

    Not accusing, just asking.

    Or does "byline" include notes packages, briefs, etc.?
  12. 0-fer

    0-fer Member

    I have a byline "goal" of 45 per month which inludes 6-inch or longer stories and photos but not design. When I first started there, it was more or less a quota. The ME would get the report then come around and share a little advice on how the people who weren't up to snuff could churn out more bylines. I thought the whole thing was asinine and led to lots of bad copy and photos, and the new ME must have agreed, because I haven't heard anything about my byline goal - or anyone's for that matter - in about six months.
    I still file a lot of copy - 10 to 12 stories per week - but I don't worry about my "goal" anymore, so sometimes I file less. I think good writers can file a lot of solid copy in the course of a week or month or whatever, but I think there has to be a more qualitative evaluation than byline counts, because when they're focused on hitting the byline tally it can lead to copy that otherwise would have be reworked or scrapped getting into the section for the sake of a byline.
    My $.02
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