Washington, D.C. - Forget April. For bean counters at financially troubled newspapers, August is the cruelest month.
Their budget-stretching began with coverage of the Beijing Olympics, which ends Aug. 24. A day later, the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Denver, and the Republican National Convention begins Sept. 1 in St. Paul, Minn. The result is predictable.
"Almost every large news bureau, with maybe a few exceptions, is cutting back," says Jerry Gallegos, superintendent of the House of Representatives' daily press gallery, which is handling newspapers' convention credentials. In some cases, though he won't say which ones, papers have reduced their staffing "by as much as 20%."
Seems the press is being forced to figure out what the public has long known: Obamamania or not, few made-for-media events are as predictable as the overscripted circus of modern American political conventions. Faced with tough budget decisions, newspapers are making a smart move by trimming back on coverage readers can likely do without.