Monday, June 22, 2009

Booth employees seek outside, part-time employment

The idea of reporters working second jobs has always been a little dicey. There were always strict prohibitions on the type and extent of outside second employment for newspaper employees.

Now with the extreme slashes in income, for some outside employment is a requirement to put food on the table and maintain mortgages and rent.

Recently I ran into a former Booth employee who remains in touch with those inside and said a number of employees have found outside secondary employment or are actively seeking it.

First, it will be interesting to see if editors have been impacted in such a way that they will need to seek outside employment, shared sacrifice and all.

Secondly, how much leeway will Booth make for employees on schedules or on waiving former rules about working for certain employers now that they have made it necessary for employees to seek outside employment?

Maybe sports reporters could work as football referees and cover the game? A little double dip.

But when people are trying to keep the wolf away from the door, is it fair for the landlord to prohibit the use of a weapon in doing that?


Dave Forsmark said...

I don't think that writers for those little weeklies ever had any such restrictions, and isn't that the apt comparison in the new paradigm?
Also, I'm thinking it should be Less than Just the Score, That's What We Meant. The insanity of delivering papers at about 1AM in the Flint area, means that when the Thursday paper comes out, it doesn't even have WEDNESDAY scores. Many times Sunday does not have Saturday's, either, which means the Thursday paper either covers stuff that's 5 days old, or it's never printed. All in 6 pages, max. Pointless.

former newsie said...

Interesting post, Jim. Keep us informed of developments on this issue.

I'm guessing the company won't bend on rules regarding outside employment. It will likely tell those who need second jobs to survive that bartending, waitressing, bagging groceries or being a greeter a Wal-Mart are great ways to earn extra cash.

Anonymous said...

Jim: In my years as a journalist I've had second jobs as an English as a Second Language teacher, radio broadcaster and freelance writer. The general rule of thumb: don't do any of those jobs on company time (even when you have absolutely nothing to do).

While working for a San Antonio military newspaper, I was freelancing for the Express-News. The publisher told me as long as I did the freelancing on my own time and didn't cover base issues (in other words, the freelance assignments weren't in a competing market with my main job), then there wouldn't be a problem.

inky said...

I can hear it now.

"Sorry (name of editor goes here), I can't stay late to Tweet live from that MADD rally because my bartending gig at The Torch starts at 6. I need the money because you 1)cut my pay, and 2)because I had to buy my own laptop card to file stories. I tried doing it for free but Starbucks kicked me out when I didn't buy their coffee."

Anonymous said...

I have worked for Booth for a number of years. I have been freelancing for years, and never hid that from my employer. And you won't find my signature on a contract that says I can't write for outside publications. They can stick it if they don't like it.