Thursday, March 15, 2012

Media parachutes: When life is worth living

IT'S OFTEN SAID that it's lonely at the top. But for the one percenters, topness does make life worth living.

There's a piece in the current Columbia Journalism Review that clearly tells you why golden parachutes are the best way to survive a frail economy. Posting figures from Bloomberg News, CJR focused on just two media ex-CIO's who will never miss a meal: Janet Robinson of the New York Times Co. and Craig Dubow of Gannett.

Although the Times' stock crashed more than 80 pct. during Robinson's seven years of watching over the shop, she managed to leave with a $21 million parachute. She also got a $10.9 million pension at the same time that employee pensions were frozen. The article reports what the $21 million could have otherwise paid for: 230 starting reporters salaries: 14 years of Baghdad bureau funding; 21 million reporter's notebooks; 17,514 iMacs, and 4,200 digital cameras, among other things.

Gannett's Dubow got a $37.1 million parachute that could have bought 3,550,239 shares of the company's stock; 1,474 starting salaries at the company's Indianapolis Star; 37,100,000 reporter's notebooks and 2,555,096 copies of Job Hunting for Dummies, which, mercifully, neither Robinson nor Dubow will ever have to read.

CJT noted that after awarding Dubow his retirement package, "the company announced it would force employes to take their fifth unpaid furlough in three years".

But as Mitt Romney has so often reminded us, the one percenters should not be criticized for their hard-earned and well-deserved success. In this instance, however, I'm never a good listener.


David Hess said...

Too bad CJR didn't look into the millions that Tony Ridder sucked out of the sale of the Knight-Ridder chain to McClatchey.

Grumpy Abe said...

That was before he sucked operating money out of the papers he had owned