Gannett, Tribune, and (Excessively?) Fat Exec Bonuses


Gannett may have a bit of explainin’ to do after David Carr and the NY Times shines the spotlight on outgoing Gannett chief Craig Dubow and his $37.1 million departure package. Dubow resigned earlier this month due to persistent medical issues. 

Carr writes of Gannett:

“Never a standout in journalism performance, the company strip-mined its newspapers in search of earnings, leaving many communities with far less original, serious reporting.”

Carr does not mention the stations. To be fair, some Gannett TV outlets, such as KUSA Denver and WCSH Portland, are local news giants.

Gannett isn’t the only corporate giant with a station group that Carr calls out for excessive bonuses to top execs amidst major layoffs and diminished news output–Tribune gets a closeup as well.

Carr suggests the local newsroom denizens at these corporations take a cue from the Occupy Wall Street movements going on around the country and make their displeasure with the execs known. (By the way, we look at how stations are covering Occupy Wall Street and its local offshoots in our new issue.)

Carr’s motivation in today’s column actually came from Gannett–in the form of an USA Today editorial.

USA Today wrote:

“The bonus system has gone beyond a means of rewarding talent and is now Wall Street’s primary business. Institutions take huge gambles because the short-term returns are a rationale for their rich payouts. But even when the consequences of their risky behavior come back to haunt them, they still pay huge bonuses.”