Crocodile tears?

If the newspaper industry is hurting so much and layoffs have become commonplace, what is E.W. Scripps (SSP) doing handing out hefty salary increases to some of its top executives? In the Q it filed earlier today, Scripps included new employment contracts for COO Richard A. Boehne, CFO Joseph G. NeCastro and senior vp Mark G. Contreras. Granted, Boehne and NeCastro were given additional titles and responsibilities according to this April press release, but given the difficult times the industry is currently facing, the raises — not to mention the perks — seem a bit excessive.

NeCastro, whose title changed from svp to evp got the biggest raise: $550K, up from $470K, or a 17% raise, according to the figures in the most recent proxy. Boehne, who picked up the title of COO back in April, got an 11.1% raise. All three  executives were also given additional money to cover their financial planning expenses as well as a lunch club membership, which appear to be new perks based on a quick review of earlier filings.