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Not going on the road

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Desk_dude, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Desk_dude

    Desk_dude Member

    My understanding is the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago has decided not to send its beat writers Bruce Miles and Scot Gregor on the road to cover the Cubs and White Sox this year.

    The newspaper started covering all road games for major sports in 1988. Before that games were taken off the wire or written off TV/radio.

    The paper back then was around 100,000 circulation but has grown to around 150,000 now because its moved into more circulation areas.

    The paper also scaled back spring training coverage this year. Even when the paper wasn't going on the road, it covered the entire camp.
  2. frogscribe

    frogscribe Member

    In that town, I wouldn't scale back at all on those teams in spring training or on the road in regular season. Talk about cutting your own throat.
  3. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    What d'ya figure the cost of one full-time traveling baseball beat person to be, in terms of expenses (apart from the writer's salary and benefits, that is)? Eight-one road games equals how many flights, hotel nights, meals, cabs and so forth? Now, times two (for Cubs and White Sox).

    In these times, I'm guessing that papers, or at least paper owners, see that sort of expenditure as forcing a tradeoff on keeping an extra reporter or copy editor on staff.
  4. frogscribe

    frogscribe Member

    They could save that by cutting back on the pay of over-priced columnists.
    I am not complaining about the salaries ... I always say good for them.
    But in these times ... let the beat writers also write columns.
  5. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    Covering baseball on the road is a huge expense.
  6. fleaflicker

    fleaflicker Member

    On the money _ columnists offer no real info, most of the time. Give people a strong beat reporter, and they will recognize it 99 percent of the time.
  7. EagleMorph

    EagleMorph Member

    Newspapers need to return to the days of allowing beat reporters (and beat reporters only) to travel with the team. Pay a fee to the team to help cover expenses, whatever. It'll be cheaper and more convenient than the current method.
  8. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    There are teams who will not take media on their charters.
  9. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    And some that would have inquired about getting the equivalent of first-class airfare for it as compensation. Anything less than a per-capita charge would be a glaring conflict of interest anyway, and I've got to think that the per-capita charge is way more than what would be commercially available.

    Flying with the team is no answer for this. Staying home from some trips would be a possible answer, but it's too bad if that instantly becomes all trips. Don't know many papers that send both a columnist and a beat reporter regularly -- clearly an extravagance in these times.
  10. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Beat writers should not be writing columns. Ever. To me, that's a glaring conflict of interest as well.
  11. Norman Stansfield

    Norman Stansfield Active Member

    Impractical in almost all cases.

    No way a beat guy is going to be able to get everything they need to get done -- these days blogging, notes, gamer at the very least -- while also being able to adhere to the team's travel schedule -- on getaway days.
  12. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Beat writers should not travel on team transportation. They should not write columns. I will not argue those points.

    It'd be ideal if newspapers could cover both baseball teams home and away, but let's face reality. Either you eliminate covering the White Sox or the Cubs or you only cover the home games thoroughly. The way the economy is going and the way newspapers are losing money, you can't just sink money into things the way we're used to as sports editors or managers. Don't get me wrong. I understand the desire, nay, the need to have original copy as opposed to wire service copy. However, we don't live in prosperous times.

    Having said that, I disagree with what seems to be a repudiation of all columnists. A columnist who writes well and brings something unique to the table can bring great value to a section by drawing readers who buy the paper to read her take on the deeper meaning behind last night's ballgame.

    But no, reporters can not and should not travel with the team unless they're employed by the team. To me, that's as big an ethical breach as having a beat writer writing opinion columns about the teams she covers.
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