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What's the ruling?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by golfnut8924, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. golfnut8924

    golfnut8924 Guest

    What's the stipulation regarding game coverage for multiple newspapers if you're a stringer? I had one paper tell me they didn't want me to cover the game for anybody except them. Another paper told me they had no problem with it as long as I gave them a different story (i.e. write a different lead, use some different quotes).

    I suppose it can depend on whether the papers are competing or not (two papers in the same town or one paper for the home team and the other paper being the visiting team's from several miles away).

    What exactly is the legality of such a situation?
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    In the past, papers made more demands on stringers.

    But some are very strict in not treating stringers as employees in any way (they can't use the paper's equipment, make calls from the office, can't make too much money in a year).

    So they are much less likely to dictate what a stringer can or can't do as long as you can meet their deadline and give them something unique.

    However, if you are writing for the competition, a paper might just try to find someone else.
  3. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    The legality? I don't know.

    If one paper says that per their freelance agreement you can't cover for another publication, then I think you are obligated to abide by it.

    In general, if they're not competing, I don't think there is an ethical problem with it as long as the stories are not identical.
  4. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    It's not illegal to string for two different papers, but a paper doesn't have to hire you either.

    Some newspapers don't like people to string for different papers when you cover a game because they don't want to be burned by someone who can't make deadline.
  5. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    if they want exclusivity, let them pay for it by upping your freelance pay.
  6. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Asking for more pay for exclusivity is worth checking into. All they can do is say no.
  7. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    The deadline thing Stitch said was a good point. With some papers' deadlines now, that needs to be your first question (well, maybe second after the pay). Don't jeopardize future work by taking on too many clients for one game.

    A friend once covered a state cross country meet for six different papers. I was impressed.
  8. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    BTW, if you do decide to write for more than one outlet, be up front about it. Make sure all parties involved know about it and agree to it. As playthrough said, you don't want to jeopardize future assignments by try to slip something past someone.
  9. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    We've had a couple of freelancers string for other papers.

    I've always told them that I don't care if they do that and I don't care if they string for our competitors. As long as we're getting a different story and we're getting that story by our deadline, it's fine by me.
  10. golfnut8924

    golfnut8924 Guest

    So there's no official policy, it's just a case-by-case basis?
  11. Dan Hickling

    Dan Hickling Member

    if you agreed to the request of the one paper for exclusivity, then you are bound by it ... otherwise, it's up to you to decide whether you can properly service two (or more) masters ... but you need to be savvy enough to know that if you are working both sides of the same street, you will eventually be flattened by a bus ... any of us who have worked minor league all star games can talk of writing half a dozen or more seperates on deadline ....
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