Author Topic: Your Observer questions answered ...  (Read 156764 times)

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Mike_Persinger

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on: January 18, 2006, 03:09:07 pm
BobandEdNiner asks why we don't get unpaid interns to work for us.

Three reasons: Our insurance won't cover them unless they're paid or getting course credit for the work, and I don't get many who get course credit. We have had some.

And, I'm trying, through the chair of your communications department, to get someone to work here as a clerk. A paid position. No takers. I can only assume there's no one out there who wants the experience and  the resume entry.

And, writing a story for the paper is not like sending someone out to sell widgets. Someone has to edit that stuff, it's usually a very tough edit to get the stories to our publication standards, and it's not worth the effort in the long run.


gamer asks why we don't just add a page or two.

I explained the cost in the other thread. It's about $750 per page in the daily paper, about $1,000 on Sunday, and because of the way the presses work, sometimes that increase by a page requires an increase in another section where they might or might not need the space. I'd love to have more space, but I live within limitations I get from the editor and the publisher, and they have tightened the newsprint budget recently because of pressure from Wall Street investors on Knight Ridder to sell the company.

Silvio asks about which outlets we compare ourselves to on Niners coverage:

I guess the only real comparison would be TV stations in Charlotte, the student paper and Jason's website. He doesn't cover all the games I don't think, but I don't pay for the service so I'm not sure. I doubt they make enough money to travel with the team.

Any others out there?
Mike Persinger
Executive Sports Editor
The Charlotte Observer
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jcl49er

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Reply #1 on: January 18, 2006, 03:13:57 pm
This should be a weekly segment here at NinerNation.Net.

"NNN:  Ask Mike Anything!"  :tongue:

My question:  Historically, what non-sports team business (Niners, Panthers, Bobcats/Hornets, Checkers, etc.) has spent the most money advertising in the Charlotte Observer sports section?

One of the adult establishments is my guess since they're usually in there 7 days a week.

I'm just gonna sticky this thread and hopefully, it can become the designated "Observer question thread" (aka: rip Mike P a new one thread"). :smile:
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Mike_Persinger

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Reply #2 on: January 18, 2006, 03:28:08 pm
Quote from: jcl49er;149420

My question:  Historically, what non-sports team business (Niners, Panthers, Bobcats/Hornets, Checkers, etc.) has spent the most money advertising in the Charlotte Observer sports section?


In money, it's probably Nextel or another telecommunications company because they pay a higher national rate. Car companies, like Lexus and Infinity, also spend a pretty good chunk.

Among sports advertisers, the Bobcats spend by far the most. Racing/Lowe's Motor Speedway probably second, all golf put together would probably rival those.
Mike Persinger
Executive Sports Editor
The Charlotte Observer
mpersinger@charlotteobserver.com
(704) 358-5132


casstommy

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Reply #3 on: January 18, 2006, 03:29:23 pm
Mike....

If those are the outlets you compare the O to in coverage...then you guys are dead last.

The local sports news....the only outlet more outdated than yours....does a better job in coverage then you do.


Anborn

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Reply #4 on: January 18, 2006, 03:37:11 pm
I would like to add that the most likely reason your clerk position through the communications department is vacant is communication between the department and the students about the opportunities available to them.  Not only on a broad scale, but for those students who even go looking for them.  You'ld get more response by just putting up fliers around campus than actually going through any department.  My 2 cents.


jcl49er

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Reply #5 on: January 18, 2006, 03:38:54 pm
Quote from: casstommy;149423
Mike....

If those are the outlets you compare the O to in coverage...then you guys are dead last.

The local sports news....the only outlet more outdated than yours....does a better job in coverage then you do.

I have to disagree here. The Observer may not cover us as much as we would like, but their coverage exceeds all the other local publications, combined. Not even close.

And the local TV stations rarely mention us beyond a 15 second highlight package following a game. Fox's late night sports show with Bruce/Kelly has had a couple Niners on in the past for interviews. But as far as the 5pm, 6pm, 10pm and 11pm coverage goes, we're virtually nonexistent.
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Virginia

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Reply #6 on: January 18, 2006, 03:42:13 pm
DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Halton Arena.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE OBSERVER it's so.'
Please tell me the truth; is there a Halton Arena?


HappyCamper49

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Reply #7 on: January 18, 2006, 03:46:34 pm
Quote from: jcl49er;149425
I have to disagree here. The Observer may not cover us as much as we would like, but their coverage exceeds all the other local publications, combined. Not even close.
 
And the local TV stations rarely mention us beyond a 15 second highlight package following a game. Fox's late night sports show with Bruce/Kelly has had a couple Niners on in the past for interviews. But as far as the 5pm, 6pm, 10pm and 11pm coverage goes, we're virtually nonexistent.

Right on, I'm not an Observer homer by any means, but at least they give us something.


 


jcl49er

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Reply #8 on: January 18, 2006, 03:56:43 pm
Quote from: Mike_Persinger;149422
In money, it's probably Nextel or another telecommunications company because they pay a higher national rate. Car companies, like Lexus and Infinity, also spend a pretty good chunk.

Among sports advertisers, the Bobcats spend by far the most. Racing/Lowe's Motor Speedway probably second, all golf put together would probably rival those.

So where do the Niners fit in, in terms of what our program spends to advertise with you?

From what I know, we have a $50K publicity budget and a good chunk of that ($15-$17K annually) goes DIRECTLY to the Charlotte Observer.  Considering that we spend that much AND we're Corporate Partners, sometimes I have to wonder why we don't get a little more pub thrown our way from you guys. Just seems to me you'd hold the hand that helps feed you instead of trying to bite it sometimes.
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franchise49er

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Reply #9 on: January 18, 2006, 04:03:42 pm
Very interesting info jcl49er...I had no idea we spent that much money with the paper that covers the ACC more than us.  Lovely.


Virginia

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Reply #10 on: January 18, 2006, 04:06:48 pm
Papa says we better shut the F*** up before the Editor starts suing people.


Mike_Persinger

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Reply #11 on: January 18, 2006, 04:07:05 pm
Quote from: jcl49er;149432
So where do the Niners fit in, in terms of what our program spends to advertise with you? ...  Just seems to me you'd hold the hand that helps feed you instead of trying to bite it sometimes.


By necessity, there is a division between the promotions and business sides of the operations and the newsgathering operation, and if you think about that it makes sense. You wouldn't want us, for instance, covering up the fact that one of the banks is swindling customers or that a car dealer is ripping people off if we find that to be true just because they're a big advertiser. I don't know, specifically, what anyone spends, and I don't want to know, because it should play NO role in coverage. Newsgathering must be independent of the financial side.
Mike Persinger
Executive Sports Editor
The Charlotte Observer
mpersinger@charlotteobserver.com
(704) 358-5132


casstommy

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Reply #12 on: January 18, 2006, 04:09:18 pm
Quote from: jcl49er;149425
I have to disagree here. The Observer may not cover us as much as we would like, but their coverage exceeds all the other local publications, combined. Not even close.

And the local TV stations rarely mention us beyond a 15 second highlight package following a game. Fox's late night sports show with Bruce/Kelly has had a couple Niners on in the past for interviews. But as far as the 5pm, 6pm, 10pm and 11pm coverage goes, we're virtually nonexistent.



We always have a quick 10 to 20 second spot on the local news after every game....which is what I would expect for a minute and a half segment.
They had a nice little piece on Fox last night.

As for the others...is it really fair to compare the Observer to our school paper?  I would say...comparatively speaking...they do a fine job covering the team...given the budget they have.

At least they did when I was in school.


s9er

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Reply #13 on: January 18, 2006, 04:15:19 pm
Quote from: franchise49er;149434
Very interesting info jcl49er...I had no idea we spent that much money with the paper that covers the ACC more than us.  Lovely.



I have been labled an Observer employee by some for my thoughts, but hear me out and answer honestly.  

Company ABC offers a product.
50% of the potential buying audience is interested in Product 1
25% is interested in Product 2
20% is interested in Product 3
5% are interested in other products.

If you were Company ABC, where would you devote most of your resources?

As far as I'm concerend this issue deals with dollars and cents


LeftyNiner

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Reply #14 on: January 18, 2006, 04:44:47 pm
Who will be the first to submit a letter to be published.  I always wonder why we have so many complaints here, yet don't see letters to the Editors in the paper.

email: obsports@charlotteobserver.com


C49er

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Reply #15 on: January 18, 2006, 04:45:20 pm
Just dealing with the basic point of your argument, whether it's right or wrong - how do you measure interest which you base the coverage on?


Brick Tamland, Weather

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Reply #16 on: January 18, 2006, 04:45:30 pm
Considering the $750 or $1,000 cost that Mike quoted, this brings up an interesting ethical dilemma (potentially).
 
[Maybe I'll be the only one thinking this is interesting].
 
Would it be worth it for the Niners to pay that money and call it advertising, to get whole page spreads in the paper on Game Days (or the day before)?
 
And, if so, then the question becomes would the Observer do this, or would it pose an ethical problem for them (paying for coverage)?  
 
I assume they would not do it for those ethical reasons, but, I have seen in magazines for instance full-page advertisements 'disguised' as news stories that say "Advertisement" at the top in small print.
 
With 14 home games this year, that proposition would have cost the Niners $10,500 for 14 full-page "spreads" which would presumably reach every household that subscribes to the Observer.
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s9er

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Reply #17 on: January 18, 2006, 04:47:44 pm
Quote from: C49er;149459
Just dealing with the basic point of your argument, whether it's right or wrong - how do you measure interest which you base the coverage on?


Let's just say there are no scientific methods, however a reasonable indication is acheivable. Again, this is a hypo.


BobandEd49er

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Reply #18 on: January 18, 2006, 04:49:34 pm
Quote from: Mike_Persinger;149419
BobandEdNiner asks why we don't get unpaid interns to work for us.
 
Three reasons: Our insurance won't cover them unless they're paid or getting course credit for the work, and I don't get many who get course credit. We have had some.
 
And, I'm trying, through the chair of your communications department, to get someone to work here as a clerk. A paid position. No takers. I can only assume there's no one out there who wants the experience and the resume entry.
 
And, writing a story for the paper is not like sending someone out to sell widgets. Someone has to edit that stuff, it's usually a very tough edit to get the stories to our publication standards...

 
All you need is one dedicated individual from the university to make a difference (and one to edit what this dedicated individual does). Probably could find him/her on this board. But I understand it takes away an editor.
 
And if you have done the above with the communications department, then for that position, you have done your part. Somebody needs to speak with the communications department and see what the problem is. It can't be lack of interest. There must be a handful of students that would be interested somewhere at the university.
 
And one more thing on the fanatic label: I just want to see the team get the best coverage possible. The only way to do that is to get the person in charge to want that also. I realize it is called the Charlotte Observer, not the Charlotte 49er Observer. There are many other stories, and the 49ers can't be, rightfully so, a big or even meaningful story every day. But as a fan (not fanatic, big difference), I would like the Observer to put some effort in getting people interested locally in the team. That means more than box scores or "black letter" game summaries.
 
Ok, I'm done now. Even though I still don't agree, now I can agree to disagree. Thanks for responding.
 
Quote
...and it's not worth the effort in the long run.

Maybe one day you will change your mind.
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jcl49er

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Reply #19 on: January 18, 2006, 04:56:02 pm
Quote from: Mike_Persinger;149436
By necessity, there is a division between the promotions and business sides of the operations and the newsgathering operation, and if you think about that it makes sense. You wouldn't want us, for instance, covering up the fact that one of the banks is swindling customers or that a car dealer is ripping people off if we find that to be true just because they're a big advertiser. I don't know, specifically, what anyone spends, and I don't want to know, because it should play NO role in coverage. Newsgathering must be independent of the financial side.

Point understood and taken. But with that said, I just find it difficult to believe that a team like the Bobcats, who spends a ton of money with you guys, doesn't get a little more "attention" when it comes to coverage.
 
Let's say I own a bar and "Joe" is a regular that comes in 4 nights a week and spends approximately $60 each night on a bar tab and tips well. "Bob" shows up once a week and spends approximately $15. As a business owner, I should treat each customer with the same amount of respect and courtesy. What they spend shouldn't matter when it comes to service. But if both of those guys show up on the same night, Joe is getting his drink before Bob and my kindness to Joe will be more genuine.
 
There may be a stated division between coverage and money spent in the newspaper business but something tells me the big spenders get their drinks filled first.
 
Edited to note that I'm content with the coverage we receive compared to years in the past.  I'm just curious about some of the business aspects of our (and others') relationship with the Observer.
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Virginia

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Reply #20 on: January 18, 2006, 05:00:51 pm
I am 8 years old.
 
I live in Charlotte and would so much like to cheer for a team.
 
But I do not know which team I should be a fan of.


s9er

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Reply #21 on: January 18, 2006, 05:02:11 pm
Quote from: Virginia;149470
I am 8 years old.
 
I live in Charlotte and would so much like to cheer for a team.
 
But I do not know which team I should be a fan of.


You are too young to be using the F word.....:biggrin:


Mike_Persinger

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Reply #22 on: January 18, 2006, 05:09:51 pm
Quote from: C49er;149459
Just dealing with the basic point of your argument, whether it's right or wrong - how do you measure interest which you base the coverage on?


There are lots of factors, none of them particularly scientific and some admittedly subject to the chicken-and-egg theory:

Attendance at games; TV ratings/contracts/exposure that advertisers on that medium are paying for because of the popularity; importance to the community/dutiful coverage; stuff you can't get anywhere else that makes us useful; page views on charlotte.com; anecdotal evidence from years of working here; the input of the staff on what are big moments; "buzz" generated by teams that will sell papers because those teams are having outstanding seasons; plus some others I'm sure I've forgotten. It's not an exact science to be sure.

CIAA tournament in Charlotte, for instance, will get good coverage because we'll probably sell some extra papers, but not Wachovia Championship-type coverage. Other events that happen locally are barely a blip and get less coverage.
Mike Persinger
Executive Sports Editor
The Charlotte Observer
mpersinger@charlotteobserver.com
(704) 358-5132


BobandEd49er

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Reply #23 on: January 18, 2006, 05:10:28 pm
Quote from: LeftyNiner;149458
I always wonder why we have so many complaints here, yet don't see letters to the Editors in the paper.

Because we have the executive sports editor on this board. He is willing to come on this board so I am willing to express my concerns to him, instead of looking for someone else.
 
Wonder no more.
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How many people have a sense of humor on NNN? 5%. That\'s my opinion and it\'s a fact.


Mike_Persinger

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Reply #24 on: January 18, 2006, 05:17:11 pm
Quote from: Brick Tamland, Weather;149460
And, if so, then the question becomes would the Observer do this, or would it pose an ethical problem for them (paying for coverage)?  
 


Ethically, we wouldn't do this because our newshole isn't for sale; the university could do it and produce the copy, on deadline, and put it in clearly labeled advertising space. Logistically, that wouldn't work, because it would take too many people and happen too late. At one point I think some PTBs at the university discussed doing a sports page they paid for with all sports represented but decided against. Or maybe that was Davidson. I can't remember, it's been a while.
Mike Persinger
Executive Sports Editor
The Charlotte Observer
mpersinger@charlotteobserver.com
(704) 358-5132


 

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