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I'm accustomed to getting it for free ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HejiraHenry, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. Walter Burns

    Walter Burns Member

    We actually had an executive editor who said no sharing until we impressed upon him that with our deadlines, we needed to ask around for boxes (usually nothing more).
    Once one of our clerks called another newspaper (around here, it's pretty much one paper to a county with slight overlap but not much) and they told her they were on deadline and couldn't help. They called us for help half an hour later. I got to take out the day's frustrations...not professional, but definitely fun.
    Usually, I just use the line from "The Godfather:" There may come a time, and this day may never come, that I will call upon you to do me some service. Until that day...
  2. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Among large(r) papers, I have many examples of Memphis not being much help to other papers.

    It's the only paper I ever dealt with in my USA Today tenure that just flatly would not assist, even to the point of not wanting to talk about recruiting stuff, the kinds of things "everybody" shares.

    By contrast, Rusty and the guys at the Clarion-Ledger have always been super helpful, and we are most certainly in a competitive situation. But again, there are times when working together – chasing those elusive district golf scores and whatnot – is the best approach.
  3. Only time I've seen sharing being a problem was when one of the papers had the photos taken by a contract staffer. Not sure we have the rights to share those.
  4. As part of a chain, my paper shares all the time.
    In fact, most of our stories and photos go onto a wire service that anyone in the chain can pull from.
    Although I know our stuff gets used a lot, we have had a lot of trouble the few times we've asked other papers in our chain for help.
    That's pretty frustrating.
  5. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    we have a chain-wide wire, so that's a nice little group of papers there to share photos and stories with...

    at my last place, we shared like crazy... hell, half the friday night calls were other papers trying to track down stuff... all were competitors, but since we were all understaffed with too many high schools to cover, helping each other out seemed to be the way to go...

    One time, though, the nearest major metro (when I say nearest, it was about 85 miles) called looking for a box score, so I gladly stuck it in the fax machine and sent it on its way... As I'm getting off the phone, the SE from the metro asks my name... a week later, a check for $25 bucks shows up with my name on it...

    That one bought a few beers, but the next time he called, I thanked him and said i'd be happy to help out for free...
  6. aeroking

    aeroking Member

    As someone who has traded in the past, it's a set up that's mutally beneficial.

    However, if you're using a stringer, it's really not fair to that shooter. He or she is making a living based on selling work. I have to look at it as taking money out of their pocket to send a photo elsewhere (beyond the ethics of it, pretty sure it would violate every standard freelance contract). And I don't think I've ever balked when told "we have a stringer there, you want the contact info?" Then you can also get what you're looking for, especially if planned in advance.
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    The point about stringers is well-taken.

    I needed some women's basketball art this season – again, it was Lexington. But they'd had a stringer shoot it. So I dealt with him directly and paid him for the photos I needed.

    That was reasonable. The situsation that kicked off this thread, I just didn't find it to be reasonable.
  8. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    I guess it depends on the paper's priority. If you're a big regional paper where preps are not the main focus, sharing would make sense. But if you're hyperlocal, wouldn't it do your paper a disservice to help the competition?
  9. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I feel the same way, kind of. There is a paper in Mansfield, Texas, called the Mansfield News Mirror that I strung a soccer game for that has decided not to pay me. I can't wait until they have a playoff game of any kind out our way again. We will tell them, "Sure. We'll string it." And then we won't. Or just to be nice, we'll tell them to fuck off.
  10. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    Good karma comes full circle.
  11. Most of the papers here are really good about sharing.
    We often call other papers to tell them we are covering Hillbilly High v. the Hometown Homers and ask if they would like a photo and a boxscore.
    We typically send out boxscores to the any paper that asks.
    We have also shared stories. I've had several byline stories run in other papers. And we have used stories from other papers' writers in our sports section.
    We don't usually pay for the story, because it usually all washes out in the end.
    A few years ago, for a state championship game, we swapped stories with the other team's hometown paper for the week leading up to the game to give our readers a better look at the opposition.
    We all compete to be the best, but when Tuesday night hoops is heavy or Friday night football is going on very few of us will turn down a request for a story or a photo.
    We may tell the TV or radio or guys to eat shit (like the TV sports guy who calls on deadline looking for scores for the 11 o'clock broadcast), but we try to be nice to the rest of the print guys.

    The Golden Rule. The Golden Rule.
  12. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    That probably happens in many places.

    Upper-editors who question or prohibit sharing also should be the ones who field the Irate Mama telephone calls when you don't have the game story or brief because the coach was driving through BFE and his cell phone didn't work at 10:15 p.m.
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