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Okay, now let's start a stringer rates threat...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by daytonadan1983, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. daytonadan1983

    daytonadan1983 Active Member

    First and most important, THANK YOU ALL for the support and letting me vent.

    Now let me rant again.

    I agreed to help out an old friend who needed a stringer for week 0 of high school football. Sure, why not?

    Two quarters in, I'm done.

    I can not work in 2019 for less than what I was getting in 1999.

    My per diem for volleyball is more than most shops are offering for practicing a profession I've done since 1983.

    And if you want video, it's extra. Sorry, not sorry.

    I'll hang up and listen.
    GoogieHowser and 2muchcoffeeman like this.
  2. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Ugh, so true.

    One non-newspaper site locally pays $75 per story and box score for football. No photos, no video. Not the greatest, but not horrible, either. They pay quickly, too.

    Our local Gannett shop wants you to feel fortunate when they offer $40 for a game, and then acts like they are doing you a huge favor by upping it to $50. Fuck that. Heard of a twice-weekly in the area that has offered freelancers $30 for a story, and they want photos, too. Fuck that hard.
    GoogieHowser likes this.
  3. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    15 years ago I pretty much made a living wage just stringing while looking for full-time work after a move -- local mid-sized metro, AP, papers that needed something for visiting teams, etc. Nine years ago, so not even much later, I moved back to the town I went to school and contacted all my old haunts for occasional stringer work just for the heck of it and got zero bites basically because of no budgets then.

    In a way I'm actually surprised people still get paid for stringer work at all. But I'm with those that won't accept the lower pay, unless it's dire straits or something. I've been out of the business for a while but haven't written for anything on the side either. I get asked all the time why I don't write any more, for others or myself, even just for fun. Basically because I'm not going to do it for shits and giggles when I used to do it for a living.
  4. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    We pay $75 a story and $50 a photo. I think that's OK. Not great but at least somewhat alright. Back in the 90s, I got $100 a game from the Fort Worth Star-T and Dallas Morning News for a boxscore and four to five paragraph game story. By the end of the season, counting a couple other stringing opportunities for other papers, I usually picked up about $2500 total. That extra cash paid my rent for 8 months.
  5. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    It's a curse to be old and know what stringing used to pay. My teenage daughter makes more money babysitting on a Friday night than I would if I was covering a game. (Granted, it might be lot harder to find good babysitters nowadays, if you have small kids you understand.)

    I once worked in a shop with a full-time freelancer who worked it like a charm with all the other papers within a 100-mile radius. He could cover a big swim meet or cross country race and file six or seven stories. Now you'd get laughed off the phone if you called looking for that kind of work.
  6. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Our local Gannett shop runs word-for-word releases from college SID releases on games they don't cover, and they accept weekly notebooks put together by the SIDs. That has replaced their stringer budget, and for free. They don't cover local pro golf tournaments, and lower-level pro tennis stops, but allow their PR people to write stories on it.

    Seems shady as fuck, especially when the basketball team loses by 30, but the release has 8 grafs at the top about how Local State outscored Tech University by 4 points in the second half. Take the information, edit it and run it with a "Staff Reports" byline. But they don't have any copy editors or clerks to do that anymore.
    GoogieHowser and Liut like this.
  7. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    What's the byline on the SID releases?
  8. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Varies wildly.

    "State Tech Athletic Communcations"
    "Podunk Daily News Reports"
    "Sammy SID, Special to the Podunk Daily News"
    "Sammy SID"
    Liut likes this.
  9. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Hell, that's what we do for small college football and college baseball. If the AP only moves a brief or stem of a story I'll go to the box score, glean some color from the SID release or video highlights, grab a quote where I can, and throw together a 500-word or so gamer while working the desk.
    I don't like it, but we don't have the budget to spend a couple thousand dollars a year on stringers for that. The limited budget we do have, I'd rather save for high school football games so I don't have to write four of them in a one-hour span every Friday night.
    2muchcoffeeman and Liut like this.
  10. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    I'd bet we've all done that, Batman, and there's nothing wrong with using it to supplement the AP shorts and fill in holes.

    I'm talking about a straight copy-and-paste of the entire release, without editing a word.
  11. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    It's rare that I do that simply because a lot of SID copy is poorly written or in a format we can't use. One of our schools sometimes sends out surprisingly even-handed gamers and solid features, though, and I've done copy-and-paste on those with little to no editing. Just depends on the tone and quality of the story, I guess. Still, you're right in that it's more the exception than the rule, and I'd never do it blindly without at least looking it over.
    BurnsWhenIPee and Liut like this.
  12. daytonadan1983

    daytonadan1983 Active Member

    I'm sorry, but if someone isn't putting money into the product, why should I?
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