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What does your place count as an expense?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by writerdownsouth, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    This reminds me of the "golden age" of newspapering: the 1980s.
    On my first big job, I didn't put down meal expenses. Our sports department secretary -- yep, had one of those -- told me to put down my meals. I said I'd have to eat regardless of where I was, and she glared at me to include the meals. So I did.
    Those were the days. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2015
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Every paper in the country should give employees a per diem. I told a boss that and he said, "Well, if I gave you $40 a day, you would bring your own food and pocket the money." and I said, "Yes, I would... But you're also not going to see room service orders or writers ordering alcohol..."

    I was usually pretty good with the company's money. I had co-workers who would order room service for all three meals and hit steakhouses on every trip.
  3. writerdownsouth

    writerdownsouth New Member

    I agree. Unfortunately I can't convince them. We only cover one school (like I said, pooodunk) so if I just decided to not go it's not like I could fill the paper with another gamer.

    Ah, per diem would be amazing. I had that at my last job and I always kept it cheap. Now, if I knew I'd be leaving soon... haha.

    I did not know that about the mileage and taxes. Thanks for the info. We do 30 cents per mile.
  4. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Yeah, been there. Of course, you could always take the option of telling them you're not going if you have to drive back. Then be prepared to deal with whatever comes.

    I understand lots of people don't like driving at night. Never bothered me. I actually preferred it if the weather wasn't an issue.
  5. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Well-Known Member

    At both of my places (full time at a weekly, part time at a daily), I mark down, to the nearest half mile, any round-trip of at least one mile. Those short trips may not seem like much, but they add up, and walking is not always an option.
    Each of my papers' expense form also has a line for miscellaneous costs, such as food, buying a program at a game, etc.
    Never been told of a particular policy, but if I'm out of town for several hours on assignment, the company ends up buying the meal. I keep it pretty simple. Except for covering state events, those situations are pretty rare. One good meal each day at a state event might cost a little more, but those trips only happen a three of four times a year and no one has complained yet.
    The only hotels I've ever had to get were for state events, so having a paper pay for them was no big deal. Getting a laptop proved more of a hassle.
    And I've never had to wait more than a week or two for an expense check.
  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Yeah, I always logged my miles, even when I was going across town to cover a practice. That stuff can add up and if you submit that stuff every week or two, they don't usually balk when it's five dollars here or five dollars there.
  7. writerdownsouth

    writerdownsouth New Member

    When I first started here I was doing that too, but they told me anything within the county can't be listed as an expense. Said it was "too close."

    I'm told the checks normally only take a week. My boss swore he had turned them in and it was corporate's fault, only to find out they were buried under his desk. There was also a big screw up with my pay rate when I started, but that's another story.

    Don't know if I should identify my company on here. But let's say it doesn't have the greatest reputation. So maybe that's a factor.
  8. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Well-Known Member

    Unless your county is a city block square, turn it in.
    Also ask for the reimbursement policy in writing.
    If they require you to use your vehicle to get there and back for work, mark it down. That's wear and tear on your personal vehicle for the employer's gain. You are entitled to the reimbursement.
    If they don't want to reimburse you, tell them they can provide a vehicle or they can talk to your lawyer.
  9. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    Mileage reimbursement and gas is redundant. Sometimes, mileage can land you more money -- and cost the paper less -- than renting a car or a short flight. Everybody comes out ahead, except your car.
  10. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Then tell them you'll be walking to your assignments within the county, and you'll be on the clock the entire time. The whole "within the county is too close to claim mileage for" argument is ridiculous beyond belief. I wouldn't expect to get paid for meals on assignments made that close, but mileage is another story.

    It sounds like the company - and especially your location - is incredibly F-ed up. Was your gas check literally buried "under" the boss' desk for 5 months? Sounds like its time for a frank discussion about deadlines and timeliness, how you're holding up your end of the bargain, etc.

    If you don't mind telling more, how big a shop are we talking about? Are you an SE dealing with an ME, a sportswriter dealing with an SE or ME, or what? But in any case, if they are expecting you to drive that far to cover a beat, are willing to pay your mileage but not food and a cheap motel when it warrants, then maybe it's time to stop covering the beat. It's obviously not worth it to them, money-wise, so why should it be worth it to you?
  11. writerdownsouth

    writerdownsouth New Member

    They told me some line that mileage only counts for places outside of the "normal operating area." Since it's such a rural county it's a very short drive to the school, but that still adds up when I do it once or twice every day.

    Yeah, guess it is. When I first started here I was getting paid 50 cents less an hour than I was offered because said boss did not realize he was supposed to offer me a lower wage than the guy I replaced. It took three months to get that straightened out. So I'm not shocked that it could have been lost at his desk for so long. We recently got a new leader here, so maybe things will change.

    Very, very small paper. I'm one of three reporters, and the only guy on sports. So technically I'm the SE but I do all the reporting and nobody else edits my stuff. Good point...
  12. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    You can talk to all the lawyers you want, ain't one of them going to be able to find a law that ways your employer has to reimburse mileage, unless your state has that specific law.
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