Submitted by Lisa Graves on
A U.S. federal bankruptcy court is expected to rule this week on whether the bankrupt Tribune media company can pay its executives big bonuses despite the cuts to its reporting staff. According to Business Insider, the Tribune is seeking to pay out over $45 million to its executives (down from $70 million this summer). The Tribune company probably owns a paper near you: the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel (South Florida), Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, Morning Call and Daily Press and 23 TV stations and more.
Talk about bankster envy! What's a failing media conglomerate that has slashed staff and frozen salaries doing giving such golden parachutes to management, while ad revenues plummet? It must be hard for the top dogs to take a critical look at the big bankster bonuses when they are pressing hard to line their own wallets. I must confess that I do have a bias, having seen some great investigative reporters I know laid off by the Tribune's "cost-saving" measures, which apparently do not including saving millions of dollars at the top.
The Newspaper Guild and the AFL-CIO filed objections to the bonus plan. As the AFL-CIO noted:
"One of the top executives seeking the $2 million bonus said in an e-mail to employees in February that 'a salary freeze enables us to share the sacrifice.' It’s not clear how a $2 million bonus enables the top managers to share the sacrifice."
Talk about spin by the Trib's big thinkers! I don't know about you, but two million would cover a lot of reporting salaries. Of course, that's just one bonus. For $70 million or $45 million, how many reporters could a company that actually cared about reporting keep on staff for the next five years? I'm not sure, given the variation in journalists' salaries, but I'm sure it'd go a long way. So, I for one am sure hoping the federal bankruptcy court throws the Tribune's bonus request in the trashcan, where it belongs.
Linda Richards replied on Permalink