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How much is your shop cutting travel?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cosmo, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Just curious to see what will happen to travel across the industry in the wake of all of the bad news of late. Our situation: 40K daily that covers three DI schools (two FBS, one FCS). No major metro delivers to the area, so we're the main news source. We travel with all of them for football and reasonably close basketball trips. We were asked to trim the fat a bit when it comes to travel, and we've done everything we can to save football travel. It will generally be unaffected next year.

    We also try to cover statewide golf and auto racing fairly extensively, but those are where the cuts have really taken place. For instance:

    * We used to fully staff the State Open championship and the LPGA Tour stop (the only top-level pro tournament to hit the state) about three hours away. We've cut the State Open to just two days, and only if we have a local player in contention. We did away with covering the LPGA stop altogether. That's six nights of hotel right there. We're still staffing a PGA event about four hours away, but that's just because I can stay for free at mom's house for the week.

    * We used to staff up to six races at three local tracks, but that has been cut nearly entirely out of the budget. Hotel prices on race weekends are ridiculous and we have several other papers in our chain who can cover those races. Natural place to save scratch. As far as I know, we're only staffing three races, and in one case, we saved on hotel because our writer has a friend in the area that he stayed with.

    I'm assuming our college basketball travel budget will be much smaller than it has been in the past. That will piss off the coach in my beat, but whatever, it's out of my hands. One of our writers last year made the choice not to cover a game that was about 4 1/2 hours away because it was a 9 p.m. tip. Why spend all the money to send a writer to get basically what amounts to a running gamer? I can see a lot of decisions like that being made in the future.

    Have there been considerable cuts in your budgets?
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I know of a few major papers who aren't covering golf's national events until Tiger comes back.
  3. VJ

    VJ Member

    :waves hand
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    If I was a SE at a major paper...

    All reporters get $50 a day per diem.

    No preseason travel for NHL or NBA.

    Limited travel for college basketball until conference play.

    No more than four writers at NFL road games.

    If a baseball, hockey or NBA team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs late in the season, each road trip will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  5. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    In this climate, I'd agree with your last point. If a paper isn't staffing a race or golf tourney that's within reach yet is still sending the baseball beat guy somewhere in late Sept. to play out the string with a garbage team, that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I've covered three of the four major pro leagues and there is nothing more worthless than spending thousands and thousands of dollars to cover a 52-90 team on the road during the final few weeks of the season.

    What's more important, sending two writers to The Masters or the Daytona 500 or having a beat writer at a meaningless baseball game when the team is out of it?
  7. VJ

    VJ Member

    That depends, if you're the Seattle Times, why are you going to not send a reporter to cover a Mariners series in Texas so you can go to the Daytona 500 in Florida?
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Well, you have to evaluate every situation independently.

    As I posted on another thread, I covered two preseason basketball games one year in cities with small airports and it cost the paper $2,200 in airfare. I told my boss they shouldn't send me. I went.

    Simply by being not stupid, you can eliminate thousands of dollars every year. Then you can spend money on the events that deserve coverage, rather than just throwing money into the shitter.
  9. VJ

    VJ Member

    No I completely agree, I just think it's more important to get a local angle on your hometown team (whether its a stringer or staffer) rather than rely on the AP gamer from the home team. Assuming there's not a local guy at the Masters, it's not like you aren't going to get quality stuff from Doug.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    You have to know the pulse of the sports fans in your market. But there are papers who feel like they have to have a writer at every round of the NBA playoffs even though the local team is long gone. You want to cover the finals, fine... But if you're in Atlanta, do you really need a writer at a Celtics-Cavs series?
  11. VJ

    VJ Member

    Not when said writer gets laid off because the travel budget is too bloated.
  12. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    My real curiosity is how many major papers that are cutting staff are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to send "teams" of reporters, editors and photogs to Beijing.

    And no newspaper should ever, ever cut coverage of a local pro team in favor of a national event like Daytona or the Masters.
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