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Does your paper pay for press box food?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by The Rules of Golf, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    We do not pay.

    There is lunch for football games, generally a deli-type sandwich and assorted fixins, and complementary soda. Going rate, about $10 a pop.

    At basketball games, there is free soda. Sometimes at baseball games you get comped a hot dog/soda.

    The bigger issue is parking. Spots in the media lot for football games would cost upwards of $1,500 in accompanying donation to the season ticket to the general public. Suffice it to say, we don't pay that, although our company does buy about 8 seaso tickets for football and hoops as an employee perk.
  2. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Good thread. My station would never pay for my meals unless I'm on the road, but you know what? New policy for me -- no more press box meals unless it's a pay thing. I'm gonna be giving up some good food-- I gotta tell ya.

    Last week I was arguing with a flack because she failed to inform me ahead of time that I wouldn't be able to go live from a certain location... and I looked down, and there was my event-provided box lunch. <cringe>

    Parking? Wow. Tough one. I've got to be able to get out of there quickly so I can make slot for the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news. I can't do my job without good parking. That one will have to wait.

    Anybody want to join me on the press box food policy? C'mon! We'll brown bag it together!!
  3. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    I've been doing pretty well not to eat press box food -- although I'm generally not as strict w/ myself on the road.
    I personally just don't like the people I cover having anything over my head. I'm on a small beat where word seems to travel fast. Who knows, maybe if I one day get a spot on a larger beat, I'll quit caring so much. That said, I've heard grumblings of me being "uppity" for doing what I do.
    It doesn't help my cause that every other person in my section seemingly has no problem taking part in press box food.

    And Luggie, good idea.
  4. This was debated a lot in my J-school and I always made two points.
    1) I don't hear reviewers saying they need to pay for their CDs or movie tickets (though maybe that does happen, it just doesn't around here). If a CD is mailed into the office and not paid for, how is that different from a free meal, except that a CD lasts longer (and is often worth more than the cheap free meals I get).
    2) Maybe everyone does have a price. I don't know. But I do know that my price is much higher than a free meal. It has no effect on my coverage.
  5. State championships, held in the bumf*ck nether regions of my state. I walk into the press area, find all sorts of sodas, chips and what not. Along with cheap Food Lion hot dogs emptied into a crock pot with hot water. I was starving -- after making a four-hour drive -- and said, "why not?"

    Hell hath no fury like cheap nasty hotdogs on your stomach...
  6. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    The school or organization providing a small press box meal is providing that meal to everyone ... facilities workers, sports information folks, etc., etc. So it's not like it's a gift to the media to try to sway coverage. It's a convenience for everyone who is at the game in a working capacity. I've never once thought, 'wow, they have a terrible press box meal, so their coverage is going to be affected adversely.' In many cases, it's a convenience thing. I don't always eat the media meal (I didn't at the game I covered last Saturday), but it's nice that it's there if I'm covering two things at once and I won't have time to leave campus and grab a bite to eat.

    And as others have said, sometimes said meal is so bad that you end up running to the concession to buy something anyway.

    Question for you, Rules of Golf: Does your paper pay the equivalent of a season ticket for your press credential? Because we're kind of going down the same road here. If you pay for the meal ahead of time, you should pay the $xxxx for the season ticket and the $xxxx for premium parking, too.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Actually, some of the best press box food I've ever had came covering area high school games, where the boosters treat the press box as an indoor tailgate some time...
    I never partake unless offered -- usually twice after a "naw, I couldn't..."
  8. doctor x

    doctor x Member

    The next high school press box spread I see will be the first one -- at least in football, and I'm a sideliner unless it's raining. Been to various state tournaments where there's a spread and I have guiltlessly partaken. Typically, it has been something like a weightlifting state meet where I'm covering a single local contender; who is hosting the meet and how it's being run are irrelevant to my story (unless there's a stupendous juding error or something else that affects the competitors) and press box food doesn't enter into the equation.

    I'm inclined to agree with Cosmo's point. The spread is there more for the convenience of all who are working that day, including stadium and SID personnel, than to curry favor. Bravo to bigger papers that can and do pay for press box food and such, but it doesn't mean those who don't are in the tank. Cover home football games of a pretty big D-I school and yet to hear of credentials yanked based on negative coverage. To the contrary, I've seen people shown the door for cheering.
  9. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    I'm not saying there's a quid pro quo... But something just doesn't feel right about it anymore.

    Some colleges are starting to go very high end with their spreads -- and not just for games, for media days, too. The bigger the spread, the more I see "us" loving it... and the weirder it feels.

    I was at an event this summer with a great spread - It was on a Sunday, and they did a brunch thing. Smoked salmon - gourmet omelettes - french toast - fruit - juices - cereals - yogurt... And my photog says to me, "I was a little disappointed with the spread today." Oh boy.

    If I worked for Microsoft would I expect somebody else to pay for lunch all the time?

    I'm not telling anybody how to do their thing... no way would I ask anybody I work with to follow suit... but I don't want to feel weird anymore about getting into it with an SID over access or something.
  10. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Are they still serving the mac and cheese buffet?[/sauronseye]
  11. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Lug, I understand where you're coming from ... and if I'm in a one-on-one situation, then I pay all the time. Never allow them to buy you a meal, that sort of thing.

    I went over to the school about an hour east of here for a feature last winter and beforehand, went out to lunch with the SID and men's hoops coach. When I went to pick up the tab, the SID said no, he'd get it, and I said, no I HAVE to get it. Afterward, he thanked me for lunch but said "I wasn't trying to get you to pay for lunch." I said it's no sweat, it's company policy. I have to pay. That's why we have T&E cards ... I don't want SIDs picking up individual tabs. That doesn't look good at all.
  12. We don't pay for anything. I'm not condoning that or condemning that, just stating fact. It's a good enough question, though.
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