Olympics-sized coverage from two smaller papers

Part of a series of posts by Gannett Blog Olympics news analyst Ed Hutcheson, a pen name for one of my long-time readers. Ed, an employee at a GCI paper, will file occasional dispatches about Summer Games coverage. It’s all yours, Ed!

Updated at 10:31 a.m. ET. The Beijing Olympics are more than a week old, and so far, so good for Gannett’s coverage team. GCI’s plan is simple: Deliver coverage of hometown athletes to their newspapers, then complement it with broader coverage. Let the Associated Press do the rest. It seems to be working.

A byline count suggests a team of at least 16 reporters: 10 from metro and community papers, five from USA Today, plus Gannett News Service columnist Mike Lopresti. If two staffers from the smallest papers are any indication, Gannett and those hometown papers are getting their money’s worth.

Kevin Tresolini, a sports writer at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., covered at least seven sports, including swimming, field hockey, soccer and tennis, in his first week.

Tresolini describes the job on his blog from Beijing: “Most of what I write (is) Gannett-paper specific — a story about the wrestler for the Shreveport, La., paper, the weight-lifter for the Salem, Ore., paper, the women’s basketball player for the Nashville paper, the field hockey player for Cherry Hill, N.J.,” he says. “Wednesday at swimming, I popped out three different dispatches for three different papers on three different swimmers.”

Bob Berghaus, the sports editor at the Asheville Citizen-Times, covered softball, canoe/kayak, tennis, cycling, swimming and shooting in his first week. He’s also writing columns and blogging.

On his blog, Berghaus confesses that he went into a women’s restroom by mistake, ate some mystery meat, and passed out on his flight to China. On Friday, he wrote a column about how he tried to bend the rules at the swimming venue and didn’t get away with it.

Tresolini has blogged about dishes he has not eaten, spitting in public — and the smog.

Got a tip for Ed? Post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Images: yesterday’s front pages, Newseum]

6 Responses to “Olympics-sized coverage from two smaller papers”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Did I misread this, or did you call the News Journal in Delaware a small paper? It’s about 115,000 circulation. I think that puts it in the top 10 or close of the US papers Gannett holds. It’s not USAToday, but I wouldn’t call it “small” and certainly not “smallest.”

    Also, the Gannett team in Beijing you mention is nearly doubled by the 12 or so photographers / photo editors there.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I have to wonder wtf our Gannett overseers are thinking dropping tens of thousands of dollars (or is it hundreds of thousands?) on Olympic and convention coverage amidst buyouts, layoffs and downsizing.

    How can they justify the enormous cost of these events while they are firing people? These are all covered in great detail by the wires and other news organizations (Gannett reporters and photographers are sitting right next to the wire guys in the press rooms and photo pits).

    Maybe they could have a) saved a couple of local jobs or b) used the money to invest in meaningful local coverage.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t know who you are referring to when you say GCI but Gannett News Service is coordinating the coverage from Beijing for the local papers. Besides the aforementioned reporters there are three GNS staffers, an editor from AZ and writers from Detroit, Cincy, Indy and Rochester. Not to mention a staff of photographers from Cincy, Indy, Appleton and Shreveport.

    As for the the investigative work being done by “ed” let him know he was real close on the number of USAT employees in Beijing. The real number is 60. So close and yet….

  4. Ed Hutcheson Says:

    @ 10:13 am.: No slight intended regarding the News Journal. But it is smaller than some other papers contributing writers to the Olympics coverage — Detroit, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Phoenix, Indy and Rochester.

    You and 11:49 a.m. are correct about the number of photographers, and where they are from. No slight intended toward them, either. Their work will be highlighted in an upcoming post.

    @ 11:49 a.m.: Memos and budgets I’d seen were not specific about how many GNS/USAT staffers are in Beijing. I’ve counted bylines and credits on the wire and the web, but clearly I can’t account for everyone. From one who also has been behind the scenes at major sporting events, be assured their work is appreciated, too.

    Citius, Altius, Fortius,
    Ed Hutcheson
    Gannett Blog Olympics correspondent

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Okay, Ed, I did misread what you meant about “small.”
    Thanks for the post and follow. (Anon 10:13)

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, Berghaus from AVL was worth every cent Gannett spent on his Beijing coverage:
    1. A column on how he passed out on the plane
    2. How he went to a food court and ate McNuggets and compared prices with U.S. McNuggets
    3. How he shopped for a T-shirt for his wife in the Olympic store
    4. A column on shooting in which he told us he knew nothing about it, and had never fired a gun
    5. A report on some former minor league baseball players who passed through AVL
    6. A note on how tired he was after “two weeks without sleep”
    Yep, it was worth every cent. Priceless, in fact.

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