• U.S.

The Press: Spanish Custom

2 minute read

Country Life is a horsy magazine comprising all that is left of Polo, The Sportsman, Horse & Horseman. Its editor & publisher is an ardent turf lover named Peter Vischer. In this month’s Country Life, Editor Vischer had a few paragraphs to say about “the custom becoming more and more prevalent among track operators of paying the ‘expenses’ of newspapermen doing the work their papers assign them to do, of putting them up cost-free at their clubhouses or elsewhere, even of putting them on the payroll. . . .

“The managements do it without shame. The papers see it as a ‘modern’ method of cutting their expenses (and their own payrolls), apparently oblivious to the fact that they are sacrificing the vaunted freedom of the press. . . .”

What Editor Vischer was beefing about, he well knew, was an old Spanish custom, once regularly observed by every major bullfighter who prized his press clippings. It is also an old freeloading custom of the U. S. press, enjoyed in one guise or another by many sportswriters covering big-league baseball (TIME, Nov. 14, 1938), boxing, Bowl games, professional football. At one race track reporters reportedly got pay envelopes each week, were hurt at meet’s end when the track management asked for their social security numbers, considering them track employes.

Last week, with a legislative Donnybrook impending over New York’s newly voted pari-mutuel system, Manhattan turf writers had plenty to write about. So no

Manhattan paper found room to publish or reply to Editor Vischer’s accusations. But many an injured sportswriter telephoned in, to question not the truth but the cricket of his cracks.

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