Newsquest chief executive Paul Davidson has come in for a lot of flack as the company has slashed costs, and journalists, across its network of UK regional newspapers.
But perhaps the real villains are in the United States – at parent company Gannett – where as David Carr notes in the New York Times, chief executive Craig Dubow has departed with a $37m pay-off. His reward, apparently, for cutting 20,000 jobs.
As Carr writes: “Forget about occupying Wall Street; maybe it’s time to start occupying Main Street, a place Gannett has bled dry by offering less and less news while dumping and furloughing journalists in seemingly every quarter.”
Noting the massive bonuses enjoyed by the Gannett Board, perhaps as much as $115m in three years, he says:
“The newspaper business is struggling, and those of us who have jobs are lucky to still have them. But how in the world could a board, any board, justify such huge payouts to media executives at a time like this? It’s not that any of them were flight risks, in need of incentive to stick out a bankruptcy. Most had no place to go, and even if they did, many would have trouble shaking off the taint of their previous tenure.”