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freelance stories from pr guys/girls...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by strunk_you, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. strunk_you

    strunk_you Member

    so yeah, what are your thoughts on running submitted stories from media relations practitioners that have a stake in what the story is about? is this happening more and more in the layoff/buyout era?

    obviously, i understand the conflict of interest and the ethical concerns. but let's say theoretically, that a sports staff is so short-handed and there is such a dearth of any quality stringers, the newspaper runs a story previewing a yearly golf tournament in town (featuring pga players) that is written by the tournament's pr dude.

    in any situation, is that ok? to throw your ordinary standards out the window — even if you add a one-time-only asterisk — just because the staff is too small to cover something that needs to be covered?

    to me, it opens the door to all kinds of nonsense. the swimming coach writing his own stories on the conference meet. the little league dad getting bylines for game reports on the district tournament. interesting stuff our small staff can't cover is covered by biased sources.

    you'd never see this kind of stuff in news: a lawyer writing his defendant's court story.

    or will you?

    is that where we're headed? that's kind of a silly, slippery slope argument. but i guess the bottom line question is this...

    when push comes to shove, should we run a seemingly objective story from a pr guy or not run anything at all?
  2. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    why don't you just rewrite it and put a staff byline on it?
  3. When our minor league teams go on the road, their pr dudes sent us the gamers, so I guess we already do this.
  4. strunk_you

    strunk_you Member

    because, theoretically, let's say it's a feature on a former champ and his battle with cancer. there are quotes. its already written. no one has time to redo his interviews and write the same story.

    i'm not talking about the ethics of rewriting a press release. that's not what this is. not what i mean at all. sorry if the original post was confusing.

    this is the newspaper, compensating for short-staffing by contracting stories from biased sources. i just wonder if it's becoming ok to sacrifice some ethics in tough times and how that idea might sit with people.
  5. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    oh. if it's a feature, i'd run it and give the guy a byline.
  6. sorry, I missed the point.

    In this case, no way.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    They can send in all the stories they want and we may use them at our discretion and edit them as we see fit.

    I would never pay them for it or contract them to write a story on their "beat."

    Now, if a person works for Podunk College and agrees to cover a high school basketball game for pay, that's different.
  8. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Most papers don't give bylines on those submissions. I haven't seen features that have been written by an SID and put in a local paper, but a ton of papers use unbylined gamers.
  9. Flash

    Flash Guest

    If I was trying to place a story on behalf of my institution, I would never expect pay from the paper ... it is one of my regular job duties and thus I'm already getting paid for it.

    However, if a paper approached me to freelance a story that is not about my institution, then hell's bells, cut the cheque.

    Or check. I won't be fussy about it.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Mind your q's and u's, Flash.
  11. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    If the subject matter is a worthwhile story, and the story reads fine, seems objective, and the paper really doesn't have the time/resources to put one of its people on the story, then yes, I would run it.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I would run it if the PR person submitted it and it worked for the paper's purposes, but I would not give them a byline.
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