Before going to Sochi, I tried to budget and discussed this more in depth than people probably cared to know. Budgeting is very important when you’re doing citizen journalism and you want to possibly get money to support your efforts.
Transportation involved two trips on the Russian metro at 40 rubles each, airport express train at 640 rubles, and a round trip train ticket from Moscow to Sochi at AU$125. I got zapped with 116 RUBs for the train twice for sheets. Plane tickets were bought using frequent flier miles. Retail price is showing me US$331. Do some converting: €0.78 + €12.59 + €81.12 + €4.564 + €238.06 = €337.11. Not bad. About €100 if you subtract the plane ticket part out.
Hotel expense was €33 a night for five nights. That equals €165. Food was… That’s a bit harder to calculate. I took with me €200 that I converted to rubles with no commission at €1 to 40 RUB. la la la la. Let’s go with €160 on for food and postage, with about €25 of that at the airport on the last day, including a breakfast that was 760 RuB / €14.87 from Burger King that included lots of stuff I did not want including a disgusting breakfast roll thing with a tomato in it. Sbarros for lunch was much cheaper at 220 RUB / €4.328 which included two slices of pizza and a very large drink. Two bottles of Pepsi each ran 70 RUB / €1.377.
All told, assuming actual cost of airline tickets, going to Sochi cost me €551.05 / US$766.18. That isn’t that much. Going to the London Paralympics, the cost was around AUD$7,500. Costs were lower because I did not fly to Sochi, because I did not attend the whole games, because I missed meals, because I bought fewer souvenirs. (It was AUD$15,000 for two people. This included everything from airfare to food to internet.)
What did this get me? Page views for all 2014 Winter Paralympics articles from 1 March to 14 March 2014 on English Wikinews total 14,685 views. To be fair, I produced only 10 articles while in Sochi.
In London, myself and my fellow report produced around 50 to 60 total articles. That’s a huge volume. My reporting partners in Sochi were Ukrainians, who were primarily writing in Ukrainian and doing their own work. It wasn’t so much a partnership of working together to support each other’s English Wikinews reporting. The page views for London original reporting around the Paralympic period total 78,943 views. That’s about 5 times as many views. The costs for London were 17 times higher: €9734.25 / €551.05 = 17. I think reporting wise, I got my money’s worth here.
I think, when I do a better metric analysis, some of the breakdowns will be interesting. Where this reporting project fell down was background research and background writing for English Wikipedia… but I think the Ukrainian project will demonstrate why that matters and how useful that particular aspect can be. I know that they had zero articles about the Paralympics before 1 March 2014 on Ukrainian Wikipedia. They now have 53 pages with 23,803 total views from 1 March to 14 March, the fifth most visited Wikipedia for articles about the 2014 Winter Paralympics found in that category. But that’s another analysis to look at Return of Investment for another time.