At a time when every day seems to bring news of another newspaper or chain making significant cutbacks, it's preposterous that some editors aren't taking a hard look at coverage and throttling back when it makes no sense to send reporters and photographers to cover a story that's available in many other places. But it's still happening. Three recent examples:
- The Washington Post sent 10 staffers–eight reporters and two photogs–to Detroit Sunday to cover the Redskins game against the Detroit Lions. The winless Detroit Lions. Not exactly the Super Bowl (and I dare say that level of staffing would have been excessive for a home team in the Super Bowl).
- There are five papers covering the Obama campaign fulltime: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times. Three of these are national papers that probably can justify fulltime campaign coverage. The Tribune is Obama's hometown paper. That's understandable. But The Los Angeles Times? Huh? Pssst–your corporate sibling, the Tribune, is on the story. Use their copy. It doesn't cost you a cent, and readers don't care. You really aren't adding anything by covering the Obama campaign yourself. Especially when the LA Times newsroom was just hit with yet another round of job cuts.
- One more: I heard today that the Newark Star-Ledger had five people at the Olympics–at the same time that owner Advance Publications was threatening to close the paper because of massive losses, the closing averted only when 40 percent of the newsroom (among others) took buyouts. So why was anybody from the Star-Ledger in Beijing? For a victory lap?