Roger Friedman at Fox News has up Part One of a really interesting piece that questions the Golden Globes quid pro quo. The article details the lavish spending of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the group that runs the Globes. A few of the more revealing expenditures: over $500,000 for travel, another $500,000 for salaries, $70,000 for "photography" (which Friedman attributes to the HFCA members habit of getting photos taken of themselves with the stars they interview) and $59,000 for "online research".
Friedman also reveals that HFPA members spent an average of $7,500 each on travel, despite the fact they're supposed to be based in Los Angeles and file stories from there. HFPA president Philip Berk apparently claimed in an interview with Friedman that it's necessary to fly HFPA members to press junkets in New York, in spite of the fact that many junkets are held in Los Angeles. Berk was adament about the "quid pro quo" aspect - that the HFPA has to go to New York so the New York folks will in turn show up for the Golden Globes. Okay, I guess.
HFPA did donate $1 million to the Sundance Film Festival and some other orgs, but the rest? Well, they list assets of $12 million, so they aren't going broke anytime soon. How come they have so much cash? Well, for one thing, NBC Universal ponies up $5-6 mill in licensing fees - which, as Friedman points out, means that NBC is largely footing the bill for the foreign publications the HFPA journalists write for to travel around to get access to stars, rather than just screening films in Los Angeles and writing reviews. Not to mention for HFPA members to visit the sets of TV shows and films they will later be voting for.
The entire article is an interesting analysis, and Fox will publish Part Two - Who is the HFPA? tomorrow. Stay tuned.