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January 17, 2009

New NYT expense policy

Wow, times are tough all over. The New York Observer published further proof of the dire economic times in the form of a recent memo issued to journos and editors at the New York Times regarding reimbursable expenses.

For example, Times reporters are no longer allowed to file expense reports to get reimbursed for taking each other out for drinks:

· The Times will not subsidize or reimburse business meals or drinks involving only your fellow Times colleagues. In other words, we will not absorb the costs of taking one another out for drinks, lunch or dinner. Exceptions will be made on a limited basis – and editor taking out a reporter, say, to discuss an important transfer or a promotion – but only if the host can persuade us that the outing was vital to company business that could not otherwise be conducted in the newsroom. Otherwise, these expenses will be disallowed. [NY Observer]

Oh yes, and no more than $15 dollars per person for breakfast:

· Business meals, including entertainment expenses, must conform to the following guidelines: $15 per person for breakfast, $25-$30 per person for lunch and $45-$50 per person for dinner. We understand that meal costs can vary from place to place, and that the guidelines might seem a bit tight for Manhattan. But expense submissions that consistently exceed or challenge these guidelines run the risk of not being reimbursed, in whole or in part. Receipts, of course, are required for any expense filing of $25 or more. [NY Observer]


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I'm glad Congress gave the Bush Administration the bank bailout bill it wanted.

The economy has been going so well since then.


$95/day per diem? Wow! Even in NYC or Los Angeles that could be a lot of food.

My old job, which required quite a bit of travel expense (hotels, flights, rental cars, etc..) would only allow $65 total per day for food provision ($30/dinner, $25/lunch, $10/breakfast). My duties took me everywhere from Chicago to Miami and back again, and I found it fairly easy to eat very well and be under my allotted expenditures. I also had to take clients out to eat, and conform to the per person totals. Just to make things even more interesting, the company would not reimburse for gratuity.

$95 should cover just about anyone anywhere in the world. You may not be able to eat blue tuna sushi every night, but you surely won't go hungry.

The real question for the NYT is in regard to the behavior of upper crust execs. Are they required to conform to this? Top management types always seem to operate on a separate rule set when it comes to expenses. My old boss (and company VP) would routinely turn in expense reports detailing multiple $1k nights at strip clubs while on the road, weekend stays at exotic hotels, etc.

I guarantee an audit through the entire management structure of most US corporations and find millions (if not billions) in waste, misuse & chicanery via expense reporting. But in times like these, the worker bees always seem to get the first cost cutting mandate.

"Let them eat cake!"

There are some delicious places I can recommend in Manhattan that would easily meet those requirements. Near Broadway, too. Of course, many of them are well above 100St, let alone Times Square. Obviously, I'm carrying coals to Newcastle when it comes to Times reporters.

Unfortunately, $15 won't cover the absurdly delicious Sunday brunch available at Turkuaz near 95th St and B'way. I can't recommend that ($20) brunch enough. I was only in Manhattan for a few months, I still long for it.

the guidelines might seem a bit tight for Manhattan.

First, as Mandos notes, Upper Manhattan is full of places where you can eat very well at $15 per meal. But Midtown has places that aren't much more expensive. When my parents come to New York, we usually end up spending about $20 per dish at some deli in the 50s, like Carnegie Hall or the Stage.

The new Times headquarters is a 5- to 10-minute walk from a plethora of good and affordable eats along 9th Avenue. There's any number of places where the new lunch and dinner limits would get you a perfectly good--and in some cases, very good--meal.

Despite my occasional ideological problems with the NY Times, I would hate to lose them.

And they, and most other newspapers, are in a lot of trouble.

Not good.

The rightist bias at the NYT is really hurting them.

The diametric bias against my point of view at the NYT is really hurting them.



You're a funny guy

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