Collapsing NYT Awards Huge Bonuses to CEO, Owner

The New York Times is squeezing its hard-pressed, low-and-middle income union workers for wage concessions it needs to keep the Boston Globe from shutting down. Its stock price is collapsing like a house of cards, and it’s hemorrhaging cash. And the papers’ editors have crusaded against excessive compensation – especially for firms faring poorly. But apparently none of that is enough to prevent the paper from awarding generous bonuses to its wealthy executives:

At a time when New York Times managers are forcing all employees to take a five percent pay cut, and demanding even larger sacrifices from the NYT-owned Boston Globe, top executives of the beleaguered newspaper received substantial bonus and fringe benefit payments over and above their salaries, according to a proxy statement released on March 11…

According to the New York Times proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, corporate president and CEO Janet L. Robinson received a total compensation package valued at $5.58 million in 2008, up well over a million from the $4.14 million she received in 2007, and the $4.4 million she received in 2006…

Staffers noted that even though Sulzberger received bonuses and other compensation more than doubling to $2.4 million his base salary of $1,087,000, his total compensation package has declined substantially over the past three years from $3.4 million in 2007 and $4.4 million in 2006. In addition to his 2008 base salary, Sulzberger’s total compensation included a bonus of $38,045, stock awards of $54,443, option awards of $29,832, a non-equity compensation plan distribution of $597,850, a change in pension plan valuation and non-qualified deferred compensation worth $559,826, and $48,878 in “other compensation,” according to the proxy.

I trust we can all agree at least, that the New York Times won’t benefit from any prospective federal newspaper bailout, right? If they can give money away while the paper is headed down the drain, they certainly don’t deserve a penny of taxpayer money.

Furthermore, the Times editorial page has lost any credibility it ever had. If ever there was a lesson that their ethical views apply only to others and not to themselves, this is it.